Environment Agency officers have been working with local residents and Calderdale Council to deal with the aftermath of the serious Calderdale flooding, which saw around 900 properties flooded during the exceptional weather conditions last week.
Teams of staff are on the ground throughout this steep-sided Pennine valley, helping with the cleanup, inspecting the damage and looking at the causes of the flooding. They are pulling together information from many different sources to improve their systems and responses.
The Environment Agency is also sharing information and co-ordinating responses with Calderdale Council.
Craig McGarvey, the Environment Agency’s Yorkshire area manager, said:
“We have seen at first hand the devastating impact of flooding, and our thoughts are with those whose homes and businesses have been flooded.
“At one point the River Calder rose by two feet in fifteen minutes, with many days of rain falling in six hours and water running off the hills rapidly.
“Our flood ambassadors are out this week in the flooded communities giving advice and guidance on what to do after a flood, and gathering information on possible improvements to our warning and informing arrangements.
“We need to investigate the possibilities of a weather-based warning system. This could help to give advance warning of flooding from surface water and other sources.”
Todmorden residents suffered heavily from flooding from Walsden Water during the event, with around 402 properties flooded in Walsden and Todmorden. The gate to Centre Vale Park, the flood storage area for the town, was activated by remote control from the Environment Agency’s Leeds office around 8.30pm on Friday, before its normal trigger level of two metres. This helped disperse some of the surface water flooding.
Flood protection for Todmorden
The Environment Agency is investing £30 million in providing flood protection to Todmorden, in a three phase project. Phases one and two are complete, with protection for around 230 properties. Phase three has begun and is expected to be completed in summer 2013. Once complete, a total of 858 properties will be better protected.
The first Flood Alert was issued for the Upper Calder at 10.31am on Friday. Flood sirens in Todmorden were sounded at 7.55pm.
We issued Flood Warnings direct to 585 properties in Todmorden and Walsden. Flood sirens were used from 7.55pm on Friday evening. Flood Warnings were issued at 8.10, 8.40 and 9.40pm. The catchment is very quick to respond, and we have worked with the community to help them understand their flood risk.
Calderdale flood facts
• Hebden Bridge, Todmorden and Mytholmroyd are in the rapid response Upper Calder catchment. Heavy rainfall fell on Friday 22 June on to already saturated catchments, with up to 50mm falling in 12 hours.
• Hebden Bridge recorded its highest ever river level at 3.311m, some 0.285m higher than June 2000.
• Flood warnings were issued to 177 properties in Hebden Bridge, 52 properties in the area are not signed up to receive our flood warning.
• Floodline Warnings Direct is a free service which sends you a direct message when flooding is expected and may affect your property. You can receive warnings by telephone, mobile, email, SMS text message or fax. To find out if your property is at risk of flooding and if you are eligible for Floodline Warnings Direct, call Floodline on 0845 988 1188 or visit our website at www.environment-agency.gov.uk/flood
• We are carrying out emergency inspections all of our flood defences in the areas affected, to ensure we maintain our existing level of protection.
Notes to editors
• 1 in 6 properties in England and Wales are at flood risk. The Environment Agency works to protect people and property from flooding from rivers and the sea.
• To find out if you are at risk and get early warnings, go to our website or call Floodline on 0845 988 1188.
• Our flood defence schemes have protected an extra 77,500 properties in the past two years
• Up to 200,000 more households in England and Wales will have a reduced risk of flooding by 2015.
• Every £1 spent on protecting communities from flooding saves £8 spent repairing damage.
• We object to major development on sites at risk of flooding. Last year, 96% of applications which we objected to did not obtain planning permission.