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No Expense Spared For Flood Prevention In Calderdale

By 2021, £84 million will have been spent to improve defences across the Calder Valley.

Millions of pounds worth of work has been done to make Calderdale more flood resilient since the Boxing Day deluge which engulfed the area just over four years ago.

Members of the Calderdale Flood Recovery and Resilience Programme Board said it would not let up on extending protection further and seeking funding to help do it.

Chief Executive of Calderdale Council, Robin Tuddenham, said a lot of work had been done including very important intervention from the Government following the 2015 floods.

He said: “I think we have made the funding work – we have spent all the grants for businesses and residential properties fully and appropriately, worked with Leeds City Region, put various schemes in-house and talks with Ministers are continuing, that is significant and the contributions of all of us is important.”

But as the number of flooding “near misses” in the last 18 months had shown it was an ongoing task, Mr Tuddenham said: “It is long term, it is continuous, it is the defining issue of this place and we will not let it drop.

“It is about continuing to make the case for Calderdale.”

Knowledge gained in Calderdale was also helping assist other areas that had been hit by flooding, including South Yorkshire and Cornwall.

Adrian Gill of the Environment Agency said: “There is still a lot more to do but the work is challenging.

“The question to pose to the board is how can we remain focused and look up from the enormity of work we are doing and what else we need to be doing.”

By 2021, £84 million will have been spent to improve defences across the Calder Valley, and some European funding which UK areas are still eligible for is still being sought.

Progress on flood alleviation schemes were reported  to the board, including around 1,100 gullies being repaired or upgraded, four sections of the Mytholmroyd project complete or nearly completed, Hebden Bridge at detailed design stage with outline business case approval being sought, and bids put in for funds for Brighouse.

National Flood Management schemes have continued apace with funds released for landowners to do work on their land, although there is still a lot to be done.

Within 18 months of the Boxing Day 2015 floods, £25 million Department of Transport funding has been invested in repairs and reconstructions, the meeting heard.

Thousands of assets had been inspected and refurbished, including mapping of old structures which are at risk, and £2.6 million had been given out in grants to small businesses and £6 million of work done to make around 1,300 homes more resilient.

The Calder Valley Flood Support Facebook page first set up after flooding in 2012 was a go-to resource for all agencies when incidents unfolded.

Board chair, Councillor Tim Swift said: “That’s a good reminder of the scale of what has been done. In terms of physical work, we’re about half way through.”

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