Title Question / Comment Category Name Date Location
Flood Prevention?
What actual measures have been put in place to prevent flooding like we had on Boxing Day 2015? The water levels of the Rochdale Canal have been very high for weeks now and there does not appear to have been any manual movement of water through the canal locks. With the current heavy rain, the power of the river increasing, the likelihood of flood seems very high. And there is little evidence of any action other than some river dredging months ago.
So called grants?
We have had a lot of problems getting paid the £5000 so called grant, we have spent at least £500 in time dealing with CMBC to get paid. They seem to have a big issue over the fact that we provided our own labour to carry out resilience work and this despite the fact that we only charged out at cost to us. I almost wish I had charged out at full rates then we could have covered this level of administration. We have done a massive amount of work and have complete photographic evidence but they seem bogged down in whether we should include a pair of wellingtons in our costs. I would like to see them do what we have done without wellies. If you take the cost of the survey report and all this 'Due Diligence' time we will end up with £4000 and probably cost CMBC £5500. I don't think the ratios are very good at all, I would not donate money to a charity with such a bad ratio, unfortunately I don't have any say in my taxes!
Who is diverting water away from the bridal way so as to wash across our access and onto our land?
For several years we have tried to get CMBC to fix the loose water running down the bridal way onto the track and under railway tunnel arriving to form a pond on track in front of 'new' flood lake by new bridge. The council will do nothing about it, but some one had run pipes underground across to our land without agreement, council deny knowledge but no one else would be interested enough. Now we have had the water running down the field and washing across our land I diverted it back to bridal way once but not very well and thought water must have washed my alterations away but it did look like someone had done this. This intervention caused a beautiful 40' eucalyptus tree to fall on our shed causing considerable damage. At this time I made a much better job at diverting water back to bridal way and now last week some one has undone all and blocked off bridal way, I have pictures showing clear intervention. This washes down our access path and onto our land and I am worried about the foundations of the shed and all the damp ground under a wooden shed. This can only be CMBC or their contractor, I would point out that the 'bridal way' would have been formed by the water flowing down it, if CMBC want a dry bridal way then they need to sort it properly with agreement and consent, I believe I have grounds for a claim against whom ever is doing this work which floods us. There is scope in this area for flood slowing schemes, we have a water course running through our land and I have said I am open to taking more water but it NEEDs to be done properly and by agreement. I intend to put a stop to this water affecting us and have told the council to desist from all activities that affect us and do feel that I will not cooperate now with them on anything.
Flooding on Fields possibly designated for housing - Local Plan LP0821
This uploaded video was taken on Boxing Day and shows the flooding on fields on which Calderdale Council are potentially proposing to make available for the building of 190 houses in their soon to be finalised Local Plan. This specific area is LP0821. The area is 1 mile East of Todmorden towards Hebden Bridge, and extends between Oldroyd and the canal, with Woodhouse Road to the East of the area. The area has very poor access for increased traffic, and is currently categorised as a wildlife corridor with rare bird visitors including Peregrine Falcon, and Twite. Otters live in the area also. It is a very important breeding ground for toads, and West Yorkshire Ecology has recommended that this area LP0821 should not be used for housing. Enormous strain could be put on the existing drainage and water supply. The area is well used as an amenity by residents, visitors and dog walkers who probably for hundreds of years have exercised their right to use the footpaths and appreciate this rare open green space recreationally. (The local park is well over a mile away from this side of town). Even with the flooding, it can still be used as is for this purpose and I hope it is not underestimated how important this is for people. The fields are currently traditionally organically farmed with by a local dairy farmer and cheesemaker. This involves the fields being traditionally maintained as hey meadows with the obvious benefits of sustaining pollinating insect populations. There is a stream which runs through Lumbutts Clough (the valley bounding the area to the East) which has clearly burst its banks. It flows from left to right in the video which then flows into the River Calder and the canal. The viewpoint is looking towards Todmorden and shows the fields flooding and importantly holding back many thousands of gallons of water from the canal and river systems. I imagine that without these fields holding back floodwater the flooding would have been worse the further downstream towards Hebden Bridge and Mytholmroyd. I wonder what would have happened to the flood water if the fields were covered over in concrete and asphalt A facebook group has been set up called Todmorden Planning Forum (no login required) to consider local planning issues with some very specific comments about this area LP0821 here I wholeheartedly agree with the comments about LP0821 on the Todmorden Planning Forum facebook page Another uploaded photo here shows the area of land a few weeks after the flood water has subsided and still holding back water. I have read with interest the posts from various local groups, particularly where local people with local knowledge of flooding feel they have not been listened to (consider the Copley valley for instance) in the way flood plains have been recently built on. I hope this does not happen here.
Derelict mill preventing water flow
Hello, I am a resident on woodland terrace which was hit very badly by the Boxing Day floods. We on the terrace believe very strongly that the main cause of the flooding was the fact water could not flow from the road down into the river and canal and therefore filled up the road and over burdend the drains which in turn filled up our cellars and homes. The main cause for this, we feel is the derelict mill with the ever stretching wall along it that has been stood empty and unused for more the 15 years now. We can not find the owner of the mill and we do not know how to proceed with this. Can anyone give us advice on it? Can the local authority force him to demolish the mill? Thank you
Need Yorkshire Water out to look at drains
Do you know how we can get some sense of urgency out of Yorkshire Water? We started Flood Resilience work in our cellar and have opened up a can of worms with water pouring out of old drain pipe joints which were either never sealed or have had seal washed out over years. Yesterday thought water was rain water but still flowing today and no rain. Pipes might be Yorkshire waters as it might be serving us and neighbour but Yorkshire Water can only get someone out to look at it within a week and I am concerned that if we have a lot of rain we are more vulnerable whilst this is all open.
Observations on flooding in the Calder between Mytholmroyd and Todmorden
The December flood seemed, for most of the valley, to be short lived in terms of inundation of towns in the village. Whilst is is obvious that, at the peak of the flood, there was a very large volume of water passing through the valley, this high volume did not seem to last particularly long. It would be useful to know precisely what volumes were passing through various parts of the Calder Valley over the period of, for example, the day before the flood, the day of the flood and the day after the flood. Also, what is the relationship between the amount of rainfall and the volume of water flowing down the river and the height of the water above the river bed - again details to be provided at several points along the river. I appreciate that the impact of rainfall on river levels will depend on the ability of the ground to absorb the rain. That seems, to me, to be the minimum data needed to begin to plan to deal with future events. With information on the relationship between daily rainfall, the amount of water entering the river and the impact on river levels, we will know the volume of water which has to be kept out if the Calder to keep river to an acceptable level. After that, we need to understand where the water is entering the River Calder and to have detailed information on the valleys containing the tributaries. Then, can we begin to work on the individual sources? Up on the moorland areas feeding the tributaries - what can be done by planting of mosses and trees? Can 'leaky dams' be placed in these tributaries? Are there old mill ponds which can be used to store water (can they be restored to be fit for this purpose?) and could they be partially drained when bad weather is forecast but before it arrives, to maximise their storage capacity? Can streams be diverted into these ponds when the water level rises? The same question arises in respect of the canal. Some streams flow into the canal - can others be made to flow into the canal? To avoid the canals flooding if they are to carry this diverted water from the hillside, could the canals be partly drained when heavy rain is forecast and sluices managed during the period of heavy rain to allow this water to flow. At the meeting in Hebden Bridge, dredging seemed to be an unpopular option. I do not understand why but assume it will be considered if it is a way of improving the ability of the river to carry larger volumes of water. Are there areas which could be or are flooded without danger to people or damage to property - and could their ability to hold water be improved? I assume it is possible to collect data on rainfall, time for rainwater to travel from the tops to the river system under different conditions of saturation of the ground and with this information, build models to understand the impact on river levels of individual schemes. How much water is absorbed by different tree species which could live in the Calder catchment area? How much water can be held in a square metre of sphagnum moss - and, would an area of such moss have become saturated by December 2015 because of the heavy rainfall in November? (In other words, do planting strategies deliver one off benefits, or will they always deliver slower throughput of water from the tops to the valley bottom than an environment without such flora?) Overall, to reduce flooding, given that we cannot, locally, control the weather, we can only extend the time it takes for rain to enter the river system, (and, as part of that, increase the amount of water storage available) and reduce the impact on river levels of a given volume of water in the system, by improving flow down the river. I don't know if rainfall levels and patterns are set to change in the future but there needs to be some thought given about what we are trying to achieve. Is 'no flooding anywhere in the Calder Valley under a repeat of 2015 weather' possible? Should we build in a contingency, if is likely that the weather will get worse? If it was a goal, what would need to be done? If the same volume of rainfall which flowed through the valley to cause the floods in December was spread over another day, what difference would that have made to river levels? Looking at the problem from a different perspective, how much water was dropped on the Calder catchment area prior to the flood and what is the rate of flow which could be allowed to avoid any flooding and how would all the individual schemes contribute to that reduction of flow?
Flood risk analysis and risk assessment methods apparently inadequate
The article linked to is titled '‘Unprecedented’ storms and floods are more common than we think'. It is on the Aberystwyth University website and gives food for thought, particularly the line, "we are grossly underestimating flood risk". There is no 'Planning' category on this Submit a Question page, so I also quote the lines, "future floodplain development should be virtually curtailed" and "We need to urgently consider how we plan our cities and towns, and rebuild in the wake of large flood and storm events, to live safely in our changing landscape."
Walshaw Moor Burning Off 16 02 2016
Myself and Ros Berrington have been Monitoring burning activities on the Walshaw Moor Estate,we have photographed recent burning from boxing day onwards,but yesterday we witnessed an actual burn in progress.16 02 2016 we were walking up the main tarmac road were a track turns left alongside the plantation of Sutcliffe Rough at approximately 14 45 then an estate landrover passed us which drove up and across the reservoir viaduct that seperates Lower from Middle Walshaw reservoirs to the Eastern side of res and stopped the Landrover and we could see the smoke start to billow up then we could see the flames so i took a few quick photos at 14 58 onwards ,the flames got higher as a brisk North Easterly Wind fanned the flames and smoke.By about 16 00 the flames had died down and the Moor was just smouldering,and the same Estate Landrover came back past us about 16 30 approximately along the tarmac road.turning left at Sutcliffe Rough plantation .
Is the Environment Agency fit for purpose in relation to flood prevention?
Judging from the scale of the flooding in Calderdale, the lack of prior warning to local residents and businesses, and the way in which the flood crisis was handled on the ground as it unfolded at the time and subsequently, it would appear that the Environment Agency is not fit for purpose and is literally out of its depth. It doesn't appear to have the technical or organisational skills to analyse and tackle the key issues or the will or commitment to implement the necessary solutions. This is extremely worrying and is a problem that cannot be ignored. Calderdale Council and the Government are relying on the Environment Agency to sort out the flooding problems, but if the people running the Agency are unable grasp the specific issues that affect the situation in our area and are unable to devise and implement effective solutions that will address these problems, the implications are potentially catastrophic for Calderdale. At the very least, the Environment Agency needs to recognise its deficiencies and draw on outside expertise, especially in the technical sphere. Long-term effective management of flood prevention schemes is also a key issue as well as urgent short-term measures.
Government funding for urgent flood prevention work and long-term flood prevention schemes
It is vital that Calderdale Council, the Environment Agency and our local MP lobby the government and exert pressure on ministers now in the immediate aftermath of these devastating floods in order to secure the necessary funding for urgent flood prevention work over the coming months. They also need to obtain a cast-iron guarantee of adequate funding for longer term flood prevention schemes and maintenance programmes. Unless there is a guarantee of funding, the whole exercise of collating information and drawing up flood prevention schemes is pointless. The people of the Calder Valley need reassurance that they won't ever have to endure flooding of this kind again. If devastation of this kind had been experienced in London or anywhere in the south-east of England, funding would be forthcoming tomorrow.
Can a wall be rebuilt please?
The wall between Bridgegate car park and the back of our property shows evidence of being continuous originally. (Please see attached photo which also shows water level before highest flood water later) The river rushed down into the property as the ground level is below the car park. If the wall could be reinstated the flood resilience measures we put in place may have half a chance of working. My video showing the speed of the water will not upload unfortunately
9 more months
We are told that it will be 9 more months until the EA releases it's catchment wide plan. How long will it then take to obtain planning permission / start to implement this plan? 2 years? 3 years? Can we have some clarity on this please? Will Hebden Bridge/Mytholmroyd come back if they are flooded again or will it be "game over" for the businesses and communities next time we have a severe flood? There must be "easy wins" (ie dredging the confluence of the two rivers) that can be completed now not in 9 months, or 2 years or 3 years. Under s9 of the Flood Management Act it is the local lead flood authority which has a statutory duty to defend Calderdale. What are they doing now to defend the community which doesn't involve outsourcing responsibility to the EA, ie what are the "easy wins" over the next 9 months?
Why are reservoirs kept full at times of flood?
I have a query about the Water Authorities reluctance to lower the level of the reservoirs before predicted storms. Supposedly because of the fear of drought in summer, is it also the case that there is too much peat in the run off from uplands during times of heavy rainfall? Keeping reservoirs full and diverting some peat-laden water along channels to the side may retain cleaner water and avoid a problematic cleansing process.
Flood Prevention Action Plan
By now, those directly affected should have a recovery plan in place. If not, they can contact the appropriate people directly for information ad advice. The key issue now is how to make sure that everything possible is done, as quickly as possible, to take action to prevent flooding on this scale happening again. In my view, this is a matter for the people/organisations with the expertise and resources i.e the government (DEFRA) and the Environment Agency (EA), not for members of the public. I see no need for further public meetings. The track record of DEFRA/EA since the last floods in 2012/13 is very poor. So, what is essential is for the Calderdale Floods Commission to track progress on action planning and funding by these organisations like a hawk. They should receive regular, ideally monthly, progress reports from both and pass these on to all people and businesses who have provided contact details and in the more general local media. An action plan and resources must be in place by October, 2016.
Footbridge to Hebden Vale Centre
The small car park at the end of Market Street has an opening in the wall next to the River Calder. This to provide access to the footbridge across the river to the Hebden Vale Centre. When the Calder is in full spate, the footbridge (and the entrance to same) provides guidance for the river to find its way down Market Street. The gap is currently filled with sandbags and the footbridge has been damaged by the force of the water on Boxing Day. This is the "weak spot" in terms of the river spilling over onto Market Street and needs immediate attention. The gap in the wall should be permanently blocked with solid stone and, ideally, the footbridge should be removed. This simple measure will minimise flooding greatly the next time the Calder reaches similar levels. The other major contributing factor to flooding on Market Street is the poor state of the drains beneath the road. Many are still blocked and have been for some time. Maintenance should be improved on a regular basis.
Upland Management
Is it true that those owning/responsible for managing the uplands/moorlands around the Calder Valley have been/are managing these areas in such a way as to exacerbate water run off into the streams/valleys and, hence, contributing to the flooding of homes and businesses in the valley bottom towns. Furthermore, is it true that these owners have been receiving/do receive large subsidies of public money to do this. If the answer to either of these questions is yes, what is going be done about it?
“The only reason we get flooding in Britain is because we’ve simplified the landscape.”
The following line in the article linked to made me think it worth bringing to people's attention: “The landscape mops up the water – it’s a blotting paper effect and assures nothing like the Somerset Levels disaster happens”. I feel there are various points in the article worth serious consideration, e.g. farming systems, landscape-scale effects and properly functioning communities. Please don't dismiss it straight away, but read it through to the end with an open mind and then, if you so choose, dismiss it.
Needless environmental damage
I realise this may not be exactly the right forum as the focus is mostly further upstream, but to be honest I feel so disgusted I have to vent my spleen and if anyone has any influence then that would be great...even though the damage is done. I appreciate that whips and willow saplings etc can cause bank damage, but what I witnessed today is surely devastation on a scale that there is no justification for. I walk my dog along the canal towpath at Altofts, basically the section that runs alongside the Calder down towards where the Calder and Hebble rejoins the river Calder just before its confluence with the Aire. The section behind the Post Office warehouse in the Euro Port. A lovely tree lined path, least it was... I have not been down for a little while because the path I walk to get there can get muddy and with recent rain I have been going elsewhere. I could not believe, but every single tree, without exception that was growing between the path and canal (both banks) have been cut down, literally for miles. Not fresh saplings a few years old. Oh no, mature Ash, Willow, Oak and Beech etc. Some very mature trees. Literally every single one, probably around 40 trees just on the length I walk. As I say pretty much most of those trees were mature trees and pretty old. I'm told by local boat owners this was done by the Canals and Rivers Trust in the belief this will reduce poaching and make it easier to spot poachers!!!! If that is true I really do despair .. If, and I'm guessing because this was not said by local boat owners, it's because they think it will reduce flooding (the river flooded into adjacent fields, but the canal didn't)..then I'm really struggling with that as well. None of these trees grow over the canal so as to impede boat traffic. I feel so disgusted I won't be walking this canal path any more. It's hard to imagine what it was like from these pictures. Mature and well established trees every thirty or so yards on both sides of the path. A lovely walk along a mature tree lined boulevard. Now it's just a muddy moonscape with the M62 to look at on the horizon..