Time to learn lessons over flood devastation in Pennine Valley

Lessons must be learned following the recent floods in a Pennine valley, councillors are being warned.

Residents and businesses in the Calder Valley are still coming to terms with the devastation caused by flood damage which twice hit parts of the Calder Valley in the space of less than three weeks in the worst flooding the area has seen in more than a decade.

A report for members of Calderdale Council’s economy and environment scrutiny committee warns residents and businesses will continue to be affected for some time to come.

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It says: “Climate change models predict that both flooding and droughts will become more commonplace.

“It is therefore important that lessons are learnt as to what has worked well and where improvement is needed, in order to build resilience to future events.”

Residents and businesses are still working hard to try to deal with the aftermath of the downpours.

Hebden Bridge is among those places worst hit. A number of shops have opened their doors following the damage and efforts are being made to try to re-open those that are closed as soon as possible – with shopkeepers last night urging people to still visit and support the area.

Yesterday Warren Booth, of the town’s Yorkshire Soap Company, said: “There are still some shops open and the shops that are not open are doing whatever they can to get back to normal as soon as possible.”

He added: “Our main fear at the moment is that people are not going to visit.”

A report being considered by the scrutiny committee when it meets at Todmorden Town Hall on Thursday at 6pm said the floods on June 22 in the Todmorden, Walsden, Mytholmroyd and Hebden Bridge areas was the worst that has been seen since the year 2000.

It said the “speed of the floods and the location of homes and businesses exposed vulnerabilities in the existing flood management schemes”.

This was followed on July 9 by a major cloudburst above the hillside in Hebden Bridge resulting in the drainage systems being overwhelmed, including damage to a Victorian culvert, with a potential repair cost of at least £500,000. This was accompanied by torrential rain across the upper Calder Valley.

Calderdale Council and the Environment Agency have proposed a joint working group that will include British Waterways, Yorkshire Water and the local 
community to look across the 
Upper Calder Valley and consider the options for reducing flooding risk.

Yesterday the Environment Agency said it was extending the number of homes across Yorkshire eligible for alerts from its flood warning system.

It said more than 1,400 extra homes and businesses in Yorkshire will now automatically receive free flood warnings.

The recent bad weather has led to the cancellation of a number of events across the county including the Great Yorkshire Show and yesterday the organisers of another high-profile event announced it too had ben cancelled.

More than 100 scarecrows had been due to be on display in Muston, near Filey, for the annual village event which was expected to begin on Saturday. But the Muston Millennium Committee, said the event has been cancelled as the field traditionally used for car parking remains waterlogged.