This website is provided by Calder Future – the river partnership for Calderdale - and by Calderdale Friends of the Earth as part of our contribution to ensuring a positive and sustainable response to flooding across the Calder Valley catchment. That will require an expert process, community engagement and above all sufficient funding (principally by government) to provide all the resources for the design, testing and urgent implementation of flood prevention and resilience measures - of every type.
”We need to develop a process that is positive, rather than argumentative; collective, rather than adversarial; and expert, because if it’s not then we risk going off in the wrong direction.”
Calder Future and Calderdale FOE organised a public meeting at the Birchcliffe Centre, Hebden Bridge on 21st January 2016, attended by well over 200 people, at which the Environment Agency, Calderdale Council and proponents of different types of flood responses were able to provide information about progress with developing flood schemes and answer questions. The first 70 questions and comments on this site (dated 8th February) are those submitted at that meeting. The intention to provide this online opportunity for questions and comments from members of the public was also announced. A petition – Mr Cameron: where are our flood schemes?! - was launched on the same day, drawing attention to the need for an urgent decision about adequate funding.
A week later on 28th January government ministers made the encouraging announcement (which you can read about here and here) that they were requiring the Environment Agency to prepare a comprehensive, catchment-wide flood plan for the Calder Valley, to be ready by October 2016. However these proposals have still not been formally confirmed.
At the public meeting it was emphasised that there are no easy answers to the complexity of the causes of and solutions to flooding in the particular topography and landscape of the River Calder catchment. Experts agree that what we know about these is balanced by what we don’t know, and that applying current knowledge and practice about how to implement flooding alleviation measures across an entire catchment - in the uplands, on hillside slopes and in the valley bottom - will be a challenge. This just emphasises the urgency with which this problem must be tackled, because until all those schemes are in place - and that will take years - the settlements in the Calder Valley, their homes and businesses, will continue to remain vulnerable to ‘the next flood’.
Meanwhile - and whilst the process of physical and economic recovery necessarily takes priority - the Environment Agency and Calderdale Council have begun their own renewed investigation (already begun after the 2012 floods) into flooding ‘causes’ and ‘solutions’. The Calderdale Floods Commission has been appointed and we urge everyone with some thing to say to give evidence to it: FloodCommission@calderdale.gov.uk It is hoped that the information gathered via this website will make an important contribution to its work.
Throughout 2016 Calderdale Friends of the Earth will be active and vigilant to ensure that progress continues to be made, month by month, in this urgent work; that the Calder Valley communities are kept informed about the proposals being developed to provide them with future protection against flooding; and that the government comes forward with all the funding necessary for a catchment-wide flood plan. To keep up to date with our work, please follow our Facebook page. If you wish to contact Calderdale FOE directly about flooding causes and solutions (or anything else) please do so here.