Letter: Local knowledge can tackle floods

Cracks in Elland Bridge and stranded barge after the Boxing Day floods
Cracks in Elland Bridge and stranded barge after the Boxing Day floods

The Mytholmroyd Flood Alleviation Scheme newsletter that has recently appeared on our doorsteps is very misleading.

Yes, Mytholmroyd has had a long history of flooding until the 1967 flood defences were put in place and maintained until the 1990s when the Environment Agency took over.

Maintenance i.e. clearing the river banks and dredging the Calder/Elphin was then neglected, causing a huge build up of silt and debris in the river channels and along the river banks. This contributed greatly (in fact it was certainly the cause of the 2012 flood in Mytholmroyd) to the two recent floods.

Contrary to what the newsletter states, the main cause of flooding is not the narrow section at Caldene Bridge and Greenhill Industrial Estate.

There is photographic evidence that flooding occurred first immediately downstream from Caldene Bridge with no flooding initially upstream of it.

Flooding occurred because a dam formed between Caldene and New Road bridges because the Elphin could not get into the Calder.

Its access was blocked by the tons of silt at its confluence, which meant it backed up and resulted in New Road being flooded. The fourth arch of New Road Bridge, which would have helped alleviate the problem, was also blocked when the church car park was built.

Thus the river level on the upstream side of the bridge was over a foot higher than on the downstream side.

The computer simulation model is as flawed as the EA’s brains because it is not to scale, does not include the Elphin and there is no silt in it.

In fact when one resident wanted to put silt in it to authenticate the model, he was told it wouldn’t work!

We have all seen the hundreds of tons of silt that have been removed from the river banks, thereby phenomenally increasing the river capacity (up to 50 per cent according to an independent engineering survey done in 2012).

How the EA can deny that this has contributed, if not caused the flooding, beggars belief.

Yet for four years they have denied this, refused to listen to locals who know far more than their consultants and computers.

I understand that there have been representations to the government by over 150 councils to disband the EA - doesn’t this speak volumes! So the sooner the better.

Flooding should be put in the hands of local people who have years of experience and knowledge of our catchment and drainage system.

Pam Jordan, Rose Grove, Mytholmroyd