Leeds & West Yorkshire

Calderdale Council say flooding 'ever present' threat to life

A man wades through flood waters at Hebden Bridge in West Yorkshire Image copyright PA
Image caption About 2,000 homes and 1,000 businesses were affected by flooding on Boxing Day 2015

An "ever present" threat of death from flooding hangs over the residents of Calderdale, according to a report.

The stark comment was contained in a 99-page council document which set out plans to invest more than £92m in flood prevention work in the area.

More than 3,000 properties were flooded in the region on Boxing Day 2015, causing an estimated £150m of damage.

Calderdale Council approved the investment as part of its Local Flood Risk Management Strategy on Wednesday.

The report said: "The tangible cost of the floods is significant as is the emotional cost to both individuals and communities.

"Although any loss of life was thankfully avoided, the threat of this is ever present considering the complex nature of flooding experienced within Calderdale."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Mytholmroyd suffered severe flooding in December
Image copyright PA
Image caption The estimated cost of repairing the damage caused by flooding in the Calder Valley has been put at £150m

Work to increase readiness was particularly challenging, it said, as "the time from rainfall falling on the catchment to peak flooding in the valley can be as little as half an hour".

Planned improvement works include increasing the resilience of the Leeds to Manchester railway and major roads in the area, including the A646.

The council is also looking to control flooding through land management techniques.

About £38m of the funding has been secured to date, the report said.

Deputy council leader Barry Collins said: "It is absolutely crucial to make clear just how deadly serious those floods were last Boxing Day.

"Had it not been a holiday, in my view people would have been killed.

"The water came down the main road in Mytholmroyd at first floor level. Had children been in school, just try and imagine what would have happened."

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