‘Milestone’ floods action plan for Calderdale revealed

The Boxing Day flood in Hebden Bridge saw Albert Street and New Road under water.
The Boxing Day flood in Hebden Bridge saw Albert Street and New Road under water.

A new “milestone” plan to better protect Calderdale communities against any further devastating deluges has been announced today.

The Environment Agency’s Calderdale Flood Action Plan breaks down how £133m of funding is being spent across the area.

Flood alert has been issued

Flood alert has been issued

Short term measures protecting 1,600 homes and businesses in the area, as well as longer term strategies, are set out in the plan.

But the founder of one Calderdale flood support group said: “We need money now.”

Under the plans, £25m has been awarded to Calderdale Council by the Department for Transport to make repairs to damaged roads and bridges.

Floods Minister Thérèse Coffey said: “I think it is a really impressive piece of work. Some action is already underway – while it’s not going to be solved overnight, at least people can have the confidence that we are working together and there is the cash behind it.”

The first phase of an Upper Calder flood risk reduction scheme has cost £6m, to improve protection to 500 homes and businesses in Todmorden, Eastwood, Callis Bridge, Hebden Bridge, Midgley and Elland.

And £16.9m is being invested in the second phase to protection those in Walsden, Todmorden, Hebden Bridge, Mytholmroyd, Midgley, Luddenden Foot, Sowerby Bridge, Halifax, Elland and Brighouse. Hebden Bridge and Mytholmroyd have each been handed £15m for defences to 900 homes as well as businesses.

Repairs to existing flood defences and removing debris is costing £9m. There is £2.2m to reduce the risk of flooding in Brighouse.

And more than £1.6m to help Calderdale’s households and businesses still recovering.

Yorkshire Water, Calderdale Community Foundation and Calderdale Council have committed to more than £40m.

But Tim Foulds, founder of the volunteer Elphaborough and Mytholmroyd Flood Support hub, said: “We need money now. We can’t keep applying for grants. We have so much red tape to go through – all we want are a couple of brushes and wheelbarrows. We’re having to beg, steal and borrow. It shouldn’t be that way – when there’s a flood we’re going to be the first there.”

Calderdale Council leader Tim Swift last month said that 200 homes were still unoccupied and 50 businesses claiming rate relief because they had not opened since Boxing Day.

Today he said: “The new flood action plan is a major milestone in the work of the council and our partner organisations to try to reduce the impact of any future flooding on Calderdale.

A Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs spokesman said there was no timetable for the work to be completed.