Calderdale Council has welcomed an extra £12 million to build on essential flood protection and resilience work in Hebden Bridge.
The funding boost is part of the Government’s new multi-billion-pound investment across the country, including an immediate cash injection to speed up flood scheme construction.
In Calderdale, the Council and the Environment Agency will use the money to boost their joint work on the Hebden Bridge flood alleviation scheme, which aims to help protect around 150 homes and 200 businesses. This will also contribute to local economic regeneration and the ongoing work to tackle climate change.
In February 2020, Calderdale was severely affected by its third major flood in just eight years. The Council has been lobbying Government to recognise the huge scale of risk that the borough continues to face due to its unique landscape. The figures in the aftermath of Storm Ciara and Storm Dennis in February suggested that over a third of the homes and over half of the businesses which flooded were in the Calder Valley. A key part of the Government’s funding announcement is to harness the power of nature to not only reduce flood risk, but to also deliver benefits for the climate, nature and communities.
Natural flood management continues to be an important part of Calderdale’s joint work to tackle flooding and the climate emergency. The new Government funding will help to build on this amazing work, alongside hard engineering works, and will add to the recent £112,000 boost from Calderdale Council and the Environment Agency for new natural projects.
Natural flood management has been making its mark in Calderdale since the major floods on Boxing Day 2015. It involves improving management of the landscape to help reduce flood risk, such as the development of ponds and ditches, planting trees and restoring moorland. One of the aims is to reduce the impact of heavy rain by slowing water run-off through the valley, meaning rivers and streams can cope better with extra rainwater and are less likely to overflow. Natural flood management also has wider environmental benefits and a positive impact on health and wellbeing.
The Council continues to support local community groups who help to deliver natural flood management schemes in Calderdale, including Moors for the Future, Treesponsibility and Slow the Flow.
As well as natural flood risk reduction and resilience measures and hard engineering works, a vital part of protecting Calderdale from flooding is for residents and businesses to be prepared and build their own ability to bounce back. In summer, the risk of flash flooding from torrential downpours and thunderstorms increases. Ensure you are protected and resilient:
- Sign up to the Environment Agency flood warning service and the Met Office weather warning service and familiarise yourself with the risks in your local area. Are there streams, culverts, roads and drains which are vulnerable to downpours?
- If you live in an area specifically at risk of flash flooding, you should write a personal flood plan and consider investing in property-level protection.
- If you have flood resilience measures such as a flood door or barrier at your property, now is the ideal time to make sure you know where everything is, check them for defects, practice installing them and test them if possible, to make sure they work and to save time during a flood.
Go to www.eyeoncalderdale.com for more information on the measures to reduce flood risk and increase resilience in Calderdale, and for tips on how to be prepared for flooding.