Storm Ciara: Calderdale marks first anniversary and the progress made in protecting borough from floods

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Calderdale Council is marking the first anniversary – and progress in the year since – of the most recent devastating flooding which has hit its area.

Tuesday, February 9, marks the first anniversary of Storm Ciara, which caused Calderdale’s fourth major flood in just eight years and brought damage across the borough.

Coun Scott Patient (Lab, Luddenden Foot), Calderdale Council’s Cabinet member for Climate Change and Resilience, said:

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“The floods on Boxing Day 2015 were our most devastating, but the impact of Storm Ciara was felt over an even bigger area, showing that the risk of flooding is widespread and ongoing in Calderdale.

Flooding in Mytholmroyd after storm Ciara hit the Calder Valley on February 9 2020. Photo: Jade KilbrideFlooding in Mytholmroyd after storm Ciara hit the Calder Valley on February 9 2020. Photo: Jade Kilbride
Flooding in Mytholmroyd after storm Ciara hit the Calder Valley on February 9 2020. Photo: Jade Kilbride

“More than a third of the homes and over half of the businesses that flooded in England last winter were in the Calder Valley.

“Since Storm Ciara, we’ve faced 16 flood alerts and warnings and a very near miss during Storm Christoph this January – a stark reminder of the constant threat of climate change.

“But through all the fear, distress and expense of constantly being on alert, Calderdale’s kindness, resilience and community spirit always shine through – 2020 was an especially hard year because of COVID-19 straight after flooding, but joint work has continued on the recovery and future resilience.

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“As we approach the one-year anniversary of our latest major flood, we want to say a big thank you to everyone in our communities for their continued support to reduce flood risk and tackle the climate emergency.”

Adrian Gill, area flood risk manager at the Environment Agency said Storm Ciara rainfall saw the second highest recorded level on the River Calder, second only to Boxing Day 2015.

“However the climate emergency means that we cannot always prevent or build our way out of an incident.

“That’s why we’re working to help households, businesses and communities be better prepared and more resilient to flooding.

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“Since this flood, some great progress has been made to reduce flood risk, with the £41 million Mytholmroyd Flood Alleviation Scheme better protecting 400 homes and businesses in Mytholmroyd, Brearley and Luddenden Foot, including during Storm Christoph last month.

“Early works have started in Hebden Bridge and other projects continue to develop at Brighouse, Sowerby Bridge, Copley Village and Walsden.

“These projects are only part of the solution to reduce flood risk across the Calder Valley.

“We continue to work in partnership with Calderdale Council, Yorkshire Water, other partners and communities to develop a catchment-wide approach to reduce flood risk, including the use of natural flood management techniques and reservoir storage,” he said.

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To sustain and build on flood protection and climate emergency work, the council says needs more financial support and will continue to lobby the Government to recognise Calderdale’s unique flooding risk and provide extra funding.