Nearly two years after the devastating Boxing Day floods the Environment Agency and VBA Contractors have done little apart from clog up the roads and spend loads of money on consultation and huge wages for contractors from outside the area with millions of pounds leaking away to offcumdens.
All they have done is demolish one house and a few shops. We would have got more value for money employing local labour to dredge the river at very little cost.
VBA have cleared vegetation from the river bank and this has made a significant difference in river levels during heavy rainfall although they said at the time it would not and very little of the vegetation has returned.
The main thing that would make a significant improvement was to widen the river at Greenhill Industrial Estate and the EA had a model at the Flood Information Centre in Mytholmroyd last year showing why this was much better then dredging.
However, at a recent meeting they revealed negotiations with Vale Bridgecraft had broken down and this work was not on schedule and they do not have sufficient funds to progress with it. The EA could compulsory purchase the land and force Vale Bridgecraft out but that would risk 80 people losing their jobs. However, failure to push ahead jeopardises the safety of the whole village and livelihoods of businesses in the flood risk areas.
They do plan to go ahead with spending millions of pounds on moving Caldene Bridge a couple of yards, causing major disruption for about one year with constant traffic restrictions and further loss of income for local business.
As someone whose home, car and workplace was destroyed by the floods I want to see real effective action now not overpaid contractors and consultants wandering around the area in high viz jackets doing very little.
If one weekend when they go home we are flooded again I will be calling for a Hillsborough/Grenfell style inquiry in to what went wrong and who is to blame, including the role of Yorkshire Water and The Canal and River Trust who I believe added to the Boxing Day floods by years of neglect of their infrastructure.