The Boxing Day Floods: How Is Calderdale Better Protected In 2017?

Read a list of ways Calderdale Council say the district is more prepared than it was at the start of 2016.

Calderdale Council says it has been working 'tirelessly' with other organisations and local people in the last 12 months to help the borough recover and to protect communities from further flooding. 

The total cost to the authority of the Boxing Day 2015 floods is estimated to exceed £50 million. The cost of the damage to roads, bridges and other infrastructure alone is estimated at £25 million. 

Cllr Tim Swift, Calderdale Council's Leader, said: "The floods caused devastation across 25 miles of Calderdale. Over 2,000 residents and more than 1,000 businesses were flooded. Nearly one year on, the full human impact is immeasurable and the financial cost remains huge.

"However, throughout the year I've been overwhelmed by the response of local people, who continue to pull together to support each other and do whatever is needed to bounce back. 

"Good progress has been made in our flood repair and resilience works, but we know there is still a great deal to do. Let there be no doubt that the Council, along with our partner organisations, will keep doing everything we can to reduce the risks and impacts of future flooding."

Calderdale Council say key progress made since December 2015 includes:

-    The launch of a £3 million Council fund which is going towards flood recovery and resilience work across Calderdale.
-    Nearly £3 million paid out in grants and Council Tax discounts so far to residents affected by flooding.
-    Over £4 million paid out in grants and Business Rates discounts so far to flood-affected businesses. 
-    Intensive support for businesses, with Council teams based out in communities along the Calder Valley giving one-to-one advice, encouraging take-up of resilience grants and signposting to specialist support. Nearly 90% of businesses are back to being fully operational. 
-    The launch of a Floods Commission to consider the flooding causes, impacts and responses. The Council and other organisations are working towards the Commission's recommendations to reduce the risks and impacts of future flooding. 
-    The launch of the Calderdale Flood Partnership's Catchment Plan for Calderdale, which details key works to help the borough recover from the floods, improve resilience and reduce the risk of flooding. This includes strengthening defences, natural flood management, maintenance and community resilience. 
-    The launch of a Flood Programme Board with specialist teams dealing with flood recovery, resilience and prevention, as well as natural flood management.
-    The completion of £750,000 of repairs (funded by the Department for Transport) at flood-hit Falling Royd in Hebden Bridge, which until October 2016 was reduced to one lane of traffic due to substantial flood damage to the road.
-    Joint work by the Environment Agency and the Council to complete a flood risk reduction scheme in the Bacup Road area of Todmorden. Improvements have been made at 22 locations to manage water coming off the moors and improve capacity in the existing culverts. 
-    The four schools that were severely affected by the floods are now back on their feet. Thanks to a massive community effort, lessons continued and the schools are now more flood resilient. Scout Road Academy reopened in October 2016 after the Council installed a 250-metre specialist safety fence to help protect those using and living on the road, following the landslip caused by Storm Eva.
-    Works are well underway with the Canal & River Trust to repair and rebuild flood-damaged bridges in Calderdale, including the £5.5 million Department for Transport funded projects at Elland Bridge and Crowther Bridge. Work is also progressing on a new bridge for Copley. 
-    Working with Northern Powergrid to relocate sub-stations to improve the flood resilience of the power network. 
-    Reopening flood-affected Hebden Bridge Library and Hebden Bridge Visitor Centre. 
-    The Council held its biggest ever live training exercise with emergency services and other organisations in October 2016 to rehearse the action that would be taken in response to a major flooding incident. Lessons continue to be learned and changes to procedures identified. 
-    A Council-run marketing campaign targeting tourists, visitors and the business community to send out a clear message that Calderdale is open for business.
-    The Council awarded over £30,000 to community groups to help them put on local events and festivals to celebrate all that's great about Calderdale. The deadline for applying for the next round of funding is Wednesday 1 February 2017. Visit Community festival and event fund. 

Plans for works to improve flood protection in Copley village, Sowerby Bridge and Brighouse are also in development as the Council and partner organisations seek to enhance defences and resilience to flooding across the whole of the Calder Valley.

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