More cash needed for flood schemes, says report

Boxing Day floods, Sowerby Bridge 2015
Boxing Day floods, Sowerby Bridge 2015

A review into the devastating Boxing Day floods in Yorkshire has called for an immediate boost of £25m to deliver flood defence shemes.

The report says 90,000 homes and businesses in the region remain at risk, including 12,000 at serious risk.

It identifies hundreds of millions more pounds are needed to safeguard communities from future severe weather with an immediate call for £25m – on top of existing funding - to accelerate the delivery of 10 flood defence schemes over the next five years. According to the review, the economic cost of the Boxing Day floods in Yorkshire reached half a billion pounds.

A total of 4,000 homes and 2,000 businesses were affected by the flooding, with the cost of damage to infrastructure including bridges, roads and electricity sub-stations topping £100m.

The impact of the flooding on the health, including mental health impacts caused by stress, on residents is also likely to reach £9.6 million over the next two years. In Calderdale, homes, infrastructure and businesses were severely hit, with a direct economic impact on small and medium-sized enterprises alone reaching £47m.

Calderdale Council’s leader Tim Swift said: “We are still feeling the impact on our local communities.

“I am so proud of the support and investment that we have seen to help our residents and businesses get back on their feet. But with so many thousands of homes still at risk of future flooding, more must be done to ensure we protect our communities. “This review has produced some important recommendations that will help shape our investment activity over the long term and ensure we prioritise our most vulnerable areas.

“The Combined Authority is fully committed to doing all we can to protect our residents and businesses and we will now take forward these recommendations.”

A year on from the floods, a total of £207m has been committed by government and councils towards new flood defences and prevention in the Leeds City Region by 2021. In Calderdale, this includes £60 million for flood risk management, of which £35 million is to reduce flooding to 1,600 homes and businesses, £25m invested to repair roads and bridges and a further £9m towards the repair of flood defences.