Calderdale Flood Commission reveals its findings from Boxing Day floods

National Flood Forum chief executive Paul Cobbing in Mytholmroyd.
National Flood Forum chief executive Paul Cobbing in Mytholmroyd.

The struggle for small firms to find flood insurance could put the future of communities in the Calder Valley at risk, according to a new report.

The Calderdale Flood Commission heard “many accounts” of businesses not being able to get insurance or faced with premiums so high it was unaffordable.

The commission’s interim report also raises concerns about emergency planning for floods, the impact on health and the way flood defences are funded.

It was set up by Calderdale Council in the wake of the flooding which hit the Calder Valley and other parts of Yorkshire on Boxing Day last year.

In its interim report, the commission warns that the “ongoing risk of further flooding combined with lack of reasonable insurance cover threatens the viability of some businesses in their current locations”.

The report adds: “The lack of a solution to providing adequate or indeed any insurance cover for small businesses threatens not just those companies but the towns and villages where they are based.”

The commission has called for future plans for defending the area against flood to include land and water management to slow the flow of water into the Calder.

But its report warns that the way funding is given to flood defence projects is biased towards engineered flood defences.

It raises concerns that there are “blind spots” in the upper section of the valley where flood warning sirens cannot be heard.

The report also recommends further investigations should be carried out into the impact on health from flooding.

“The traumatic impact of flooding on the emotional wellbeing of people must be recognised as being important and with an ongoing need for support,” the report says.

Commission chairman Paul Cobbing said: “There is still further work to be done. We’ve identified a number of critical issues which we need to examine in greater detail, including health, transport and the impact of climate change.”

The Calderdale Flood Commission’s interim report was due to be discussed last night at a special meeting of Calderdale Council.