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Flood prevention schemes progress to go under the spotlight

Flooding in the Calder Valley. The River Calder at Mytholmroyd.
Flooding in the Calder Valley. The River Calder at Mytholmroyd.

Progress on millions of pounds worth of flood alleviation schemes in Calderdale will be under the spotlight later this week.

Calderdale Flood Recovery and Resilience Board meets on Friday, June 15, at the Shay Stadium, Halifax (10am), where members drawn from councillors, the Environment Agency, the Canal and River Trust, Network Rail and Yorkshire Water will monitor development of schemes planned following the disastrous floods which devastated the Calder Valley on Boxing Day, 2015.

MPs Craig Whittaker (Conservative, Calder Valley) and Holly Lynch (Labour, Halifax), Community Foundation for Calderdale representatives and council officers are also board members in a non-voting capacity.

In terms of strengthening defences, they will hear 17 actions out of 60 are now complete, three more than the last report in February.

These include Yorkshire Water completing drainage area plan models for Sowerby Bridge and Elland, and Calderdale Council securing funding to replace gulley lids with an improved design.

But the status overall remains on amber largely due to tight timescales and pace of delivery associated with the capital programme of flood alleviation schemes, says the highlight report by the Flood Risk Reduction and Investment Group.

Eight actions due to be completed this year are delayed but no schemes are traffic-lighted “red” and 28 are “green” with 13 on “amber” and two with no reporting information at the moment.

Planning permission has been secured for seven more elements of the Mytholmroyd Flood Alleviation Scheme on which work continues apace and planning permission will be sought for three more as designs are finalised through July and August.

To progress phase two of this scheme the board will be asked to support the project team to build permanent walls at Greenhill Industrial Estate, Mytholmroyd, as the most cost-effective and affordable way of removing flood risk to the village with the least impact on programme.

But work has continued in parallel to explore options for locating the company Vale Upholstery and widening the channel there.

For Hebden Bridge work continues on outline designs but work is not likely to begin this year, the group reports.

It was hoped construction at Stubbing Holme Road, Hebden Bridge, could begin in October 2018 but a delay in completing modelling work which will inform the final wall design has been delayed.

Now early 2019 is the likeliest start date with completion expected by 2021.

A public drop-in about the scheme will be held for Stubbing Holme Road residents later this summer and as Northern Powergrid have several planned works in Hebden Bridge including Stubbing Holme Road, they will also attend – the group and NP are working closely to minimise the impact of work on residents.

Reports on a joint assessment with Yorkshire Water about possible flood risk mitigation benefits through reservoir storage will also be made.

The board will also hear that flood risk reduction schemes at Bacup Road and Shop Lock, both Todmorden, Nutclough and Woodland View, both Hebden Bridge, and Pin Hill, at Midgley, are complete with lessons to be learned from the latter subject of a separate report presented to the board.

Initial assessment reports for Cottonstones, at Mill Bank above Ripponden, and Railes Close at Midgley have now been passed to Calderdale Council for development before liasiing with the Environment Agency over the summer, and four more schemes being developed by the EA alone have been progressed to a full business case appraisal.

A further nine Calder Valley sites which might benefit from flood alleviation are being assessed for feasability.

With outline business case approved for schemes in Brighouse in February, potential options to be appraised for the next stage or works include, but are not limited to, upstream storage at Wellholme Park, replacement or repair of existing defences along the River Calder, construction of hard defences at Clifton Beck and formalisation of upstream storage at Cromwell Bottom.

Forecast completion of the Brighouse schemes is now expected to be Winter 2020 (previously it was hoped they could be completed by summer that year) and costs may increase from the budget allocated of £5.5 million – other funding sources are being explored.

Friday’s meeting is open to the public.