Residents urged to be prepared with the threat of flooding in Calderdale this winter

Partnership and personal preparedness is being urged in readiness for the threat of flooding in Calderdale this winter.

By John Greenwood - Local Democracy Reporter
Saturday, 8th January 2022, 7:00 am

Being prepared is being promoted by flood alleviation scheme partners against a backdrop of very wet weather which has left ground saturated.

Between Christmas and New Year heavy rain saw a flooding alert issued and flood sirens sounding in Walsden although this was a precaution due to river level predictions which in the event fell short.

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Shops and businesses in Hebden Bridge install their flood defences (Getty Images)

“Flooding can happen really, really quickly, so the more the flood groups and partners can encourage preparedness among people the better,” he said.

Calderdale Council’s Cabinet member for Climate Change and Resilience, Coun Scott Patient (Lab, Luddenden Foot) said the programme needed to encourage people to prepare their own flood plans and actions.

“We still very much need to press the idea to people about having their own resilience including a strong flood action plan,” he said.

Coun Patient, who is also a flood warden and lives in a flood zone, said partners should also signpost where people could get help and advice.

The council’s Chief Executive, Robin Tuddenham, said the impact of flooding was huge, including mental health challenges.

Social media responses were quicker than services and communities came together to support people who were at risk a nd looked after their neighbours, he said.

Lucy Bradwell, the council’s Communications Service Manager, said the council’s Winter Wise campaign, including sections on flooding and mental health, was being refreshed, was being promoted through social media and a physical version was being delivered to households.

Mr Lindsay said the catchment had been “wetting up” in the weeks before Christmas with some snow melt mixed in and the ground already saturated.

This was normal for the time of year but with the prospect of wet weeks ahead, in January and February partners needed to be aware rivers would be very responsive to any heavy rain.

The Environment Agency was rostered 24/7 and used a COVID tracker to make sure it could get enough staff ready at any one time.

On the operational side, the EA had undertaken a “walk through” of the arfea’s river channels checking their condition and if there were any significant issues, such as trees or other objects which needed clearing.

Calderdale Council’s Head of Highways and Transportation, Steven Lee, said when weather warnings were received the authority brought in extra gulley crews in flood areas to reduce the impact of surface water.

Granville Davies, representing Yorkshire Water when Calderdale Flood Recovery and Resilience Programme Board was the issue, said actions including inspection of assets had been undertaken.

Calderdale has experienced severe flooding including on Boxing Day, 2015, and in February, 2020.

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