£ 2 mil­lion flood de­fence boost

Rossendale Free Press - - Front Page - CHRIS GEE chris.gee@trin­i­tymir­ror.com @RossFreePress

ALMOST £2.5M of fund­ing will fast­track pro­tec­tion of ar­eas ‘ dev­as­tated’ by the Box­ing Day floods.

Large ar­eas of Ir­well Vale, Strongstry and Chat­ter­ton were in­un­dated with wa­ter in 2015, caus­ing mis­ery to hun­dreds of res­i­dents.

The En­vi­ron­ment Agency (EA) said the £2.43 mil­lion of new in­vest­ment from the Gov­ern­ment will pro­vide fur­ther pro­tec­tion against flood risk - fol­low­ing on­go­ing works - for more than 125 prop­er­ties.

They added that the ex­tra fund­ing will al­low the next phase of work to be­gin ‘sooner than orig­i­nally sched­uled’.

Se­vere flood warn­ings, in­di­cat­ing risk to life, were put in place early on Box­ing Day 2015 un­til De­cem­ber 27 as almost five inches of rain fell in just 36 hours, caus­ing the Ir­well and Og­den rivers to burst their banks.

Around 70 were flooded to depths of more than a me­tre in Ir­well Vale alone.

Coun Jan­ice John­son, who lives in Ir­well Vale and rep­re­sents Eden ward, wel­comed the fund­ing.

She said the 2015 floods had ‘dev­as­tated’ the vil­lage and hoped that the works would pre­vent a re­peat.

She said: “This is very good news - but it’s only the first step. We are still wait­ing for the En­vi­ron­ment Agency to sign off the flood ap­praisal re­port which will then lead to more de­tailed plans for var­i­ous schemes to get started.

“But now the funds are in place to do the work.

“When there’s heavy rain I think peo­ple still won­der what’s go­ing to hap­pen, but there’s al­ready been a lot of flood re­silience work done on homes with ad­di­tional pro­tec­tive gates fit­ted and floor­boards treated.

“I be­lieve some of the projects in­clude cre­at­ing a run-off area for flood wa­ter close to the old silk works in Ir­well Vale and an­other one in Chat­ter­ton, as well as re­build­ing and strength­en­ing some stone walls close to river banks.”

In 2015, record rain­fall fell onto an al­ready sat­u­rated ground re­sult­ing in the rivers over­top­ping their banks at Ir­well Vale.

The River Ir­well also came out of chan­nel at Strongstry, flood­ing 30 prop­er­ties and caused the col­lapse of a bridge in Chat­ter­ton, which acted as an im­por­tant link be­tween the com­mu­ni­ties.

Since 2015 the En­vi­ron­ment Agency has re­moved block­ages and car­ried out other re­pairs.

Andy Cameron, se­nior flood and coastal risk man­age­ment ad­viser, said: “We are hope­ful that we will be able to sub­mit a busi­ness case in the sum­mer which will then al­low a more de­tailed in­ves­ti­ga­tion of po­ten­tial op­tions to be de­vel­oped.”

Some of the dev­as­ta­tion in Chat­ter­ton

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