Minister says 'there is more to do' in protecting Calderdale towns from floods

Floods Minister Rebecca Pow visited Hebden Bridge as she brought together a roundtable of MPs, local authorities, flood experts, and water companies to examine the issue of flooding along the River Aire and River Calder.

By Ian Hirst
Thursday, 2nd September 2021, 11:23 am
Updated Thursday, 2nd September 2021, 11:24 am

Held in Hebden Bridge Town Hall, the roundtable was an opportunity for the minister to hear from local representatives, including MPs and council leaders in communities that have suffered the devastating impact of flooding, and to look at how the Government, Environment Agency and communities can work together to improve the resilience of the area into the future.

The Aire and Calder river catchment has been one of the worst affected by frequent flooding in recent years, with major flooding hitting the areas in 2012, 2015 and 2020.

Between 2015 and 2021, the Government invested £530 million in flood and coastal schemes across Yorkshire and the Humber.

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Floods Minister Rebecca Pow in Hebden Bridge (picture Calderdale Council)

The region has received more investment than any other region, including £113.2 million in the Aire and Calder catchments.

Speaking following the meeting in Hebden Bridge, Flood Minister Rebecca Pow said: “I would like to thank all those who attended today’s meeting for their positive and productive contributions as we work together to better protect communities along the River Aire and River Calder from the devastating flooding they have suffered in the past.

“We are making progress - a new flood alleviation scheme at Mytholmroyd will better protect 400 homes and businesses, while we’re harnessing the power of nature in the upper catchments to slow the flow of water and reduce risk downstream.

“However, I know that there is more to do and we’re continuing to invest in places like Leeds and Hebden Bridge. We will boost the resilience of communities across Yorkshire as we face more extreme weather brought about by climate change."

It was recently announced that the region will benefit from more than £146 million investment in over 150 schemes in 2021/22 – an extra £40 million compared to last year - as part of the Government’s plans to invest a record £5.2 billion in new flood and coastal defences across England over the next six year

Oliver Harmar, Yorkshire Area Director for the Environment Agency, said: “The Environment Agency is working with partners to reduce the risk of flooding across Yorkshire, and more than 66,000 properties have been better protected since 2015, including along the River Aire and River Calder which has suffered terribly in recent years.

“As well as building more traditional flood defences downstream, such as walls and embankments, it has meant working with landowners, such as those at Broughton Hall on the upper Aire and Hardcastle Crags upstream from Hebden Bridge to plant trees and create leaky dams to slow the run-off of heavy rain from the hills.

“Across the region, 150 flood schemes are underway and we are committed to working with communities, councils, MPs and government to make communities along the Aire and Calder for a more resilient for the future.”

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