MPs: We’ll hold council to account over Calderdale floods plan

A  4 x 4 vehicle manages to negotiate the floods on the Hebden Bridge to Todmorden road  last winter
A 4 x 4 vehicle manages to negotiate the floods on the Hebden Bridge to Todmorden road last winter
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Organisations and partners who do not deliver a flood action plan on time will be held accountable according to the MP who saw his constituency devastated by the Boxing Day floods.

Calder Valley MP Craig Whittaker has welcomed the Environment Agency’s Calderdale Flood Action Plan which provides a breakdown of how £133m is being spent.

However, Mr Whittaker said the action points and delivering various schemes now has to become a reality.

“The great thing about the action plan is every item in the action plan is funded which we have never had before.

“We just need to make sure we challenge these partners, not just the Environment agency but people like Calderdale Council that they have got the capacity to deliver.

‘Milestone’ floods action plan for Calderdale revealed

“They’ve got the money, they now need the capacity to get on and deliver this because people like me and the Halifax MP Holly Lynch will be holding them to account because this is so important to everybody in the Calder Valley and everybody in Calderdale.

“The Environment Agency get a whole lot of grief generally but they have been working tirelessley since Boxing Day, they have delivered the targets they have been set and to some degree so has Calderdale Council so we can’t lose sight what has been achieved so far.”

Under the plans, £25m has been awarded to Calderdale Council by the Department for Transport to make repairs to damaged roads and bridges. The first phase of an Upper Calder flood risk reduction scheme has cost £6m to improve protection for 500 homes and businesses in Todmorden, Eastwood, Callis Bridge, Hebden Bridge, Midgley and Elland.

And £16.9m is being invested in a second phase 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.

Emma Howard Boyd, Chairman of the Environment Agency said: “We are very confident and set realistic deadlines.

“There is always the potential for things to happen which slow us down not least the weather itself. Given the way everyone is working on this and the focus it has been given I think we have set something that is achievable.”

A total of £9 millionhas been spent to repair defences in Calderdale to ensure that communities affected by flooding last winter now have the same level of flood protection they had before winter 2015/16.

Environment Agency Flood Risk Manager Adrian Gill said: “We’ve said the plans are a living document. As we understand more will revise the actions and revise the timescales but we will do that in a collaborative way where everyone can understand those changes.

“So if the words of the action changes it’s because we understand the issue better.

“I recognise people want us to move as quickly as possible to implement measures in this plan and the schemes we have talked about but we are also very conscience about doing the right things in the community.”