£ 2 million flood defence boost
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