'Major incident' averted during Greater Manchester flooding

Valero Trafford site Image copyright Google
Image caption A "significant response" was required following a slip of the Manchester Ship Canal wall next to the Valero fuel storage site at Trafford, the report reveals

A "significant slip" of the Manchester Ship Canal wall next to the Valero fuel storage site during floods on Boxing Day could have led to a "major incident", a report has said.

The Greater Manchester Combined Authority report on the response to flooding said emergency services were "little short of magnificent".

Unprecedented rainfall during Storm Eva in December led to widespread floods.

More than 1,000 people were rescued in less than 24 hours.

At the height of the response, the report said, more than 66% of the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service was dealing with flooding incidents ,while monitoring the "ongoing situation" at Valero in Trafford Park.

Rainfall totalled between 70mm and 100mm, with peaks of 130mm, compared to a Greater Manchester average of 80mm.

'Outstanding effort'

About 2,450 homes and more than 500 businesses were affected by flooding.

The River Irwell and River Roch overflowed causing flooding in Salford, Manchester city centre and Rochdale.

A 200-year-old former pub located on a bridge over the River Irwell was destroyed by flooding at Summerseat.

Image caption The Waterside at Summerseat in Greater Manchester collapsed and part of it was swept away by the River Irwell which had overflowed

Councillor Mike Connolly, lead for Civil Contingencies, said the slip of the canal wall next to Valero "required a significant response from Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS)".

"..Had it escalated into a major incident, it would have required [firefighters] to be withdrawn from other flooding response," he added.

"The response from all the agencies involved... was little short of magnificent and as a result of their efforts there wasn't one single fatality or serious injury directly related to the floods."

The interim Mayor, Tony Lloyd, has scheduled a meeting with the Environment Agency to discuss Greater Manchester's flood defences.

Image copyright Iain Calvin Legowo
Image caption The River Irwell flooded in the centre of Manchester near the Calatrava Bridge

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