Rochdale and Bury given extra £12m flood defence funding

Image caption, Rochdale town centre suffered severe flooding in 2015

Work on a huge flood defence scheme is due to begin in Greater Manchester next year after a £12m cash boost from the government.

The scheme is aimed at preventing a repeat of the devastation caused by the Boxing Day floods of 2015.

The government has now allocated an extra £7m to Bury and Radcliffe and £5m to Rochdale and Littleborough.

Across the country, 13 flood schemes will benefit from £40m of additional funding.

Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey said the extra flood defences "will boost our resilience as a nation".

Protecting residents

More than 700 houses and businesses in Radcliffe and Redvales were directly affected when Storm Eva brought unprecedented flooding of the River Irwell, along with a major power cut, disruption to roads and damage to the sewage treatment works.

Since the floods, the Environment Agency and local councils have been developing a £46m flood defence scheme - protecting 870 properties in Bury and 1,200 in Rochdale.

Bury Council has already pledged £2m towards the cost of new defences, with the government confirming it will provide the extra £7m to move the project to the next stage.

Rishi Shori, leader of Bury Council, said: "Finally, after many months of lobbying the government, we are at last being promised the money we need to take our flood defence plans forward to protect our residents from the sort of devastation that they suffered nearly three years ago."

Image source, Irwell Valley Housing Association
Image caption, Irwell Valley Housing Association said about 100 of its residents were affected by the floods in Bury in 2015

In Rochdale and Littleborough, the Boxing Day floods severely damaged 324 properties and left 18,000 without power.

The Rochdale scheme will involve building a series of storage reservoirs along the River Roch and its tributaries from Littleborough to the town centre.

Raised walls and improvements to culverts and bridges are also planned for Green Vale Brook, Town House Brook, Ealees Brook and Buckley/Hey Brook.

Rochdale Council said the scheme was expected to deliver £455m worth of benefits over its lifetime.

Neil Emmott, cabinet member for environment at Rochdale Borough Council, said: "This will have a transformative effect on the areas around the River Roch and make a huge difference to our residents and businesses."

The Environment Agency will now finalise preferred scheme plans and work is expected to start in 2019, with a completion of 2022.

Flood defence schemes in Yorkshire, Cumbria, Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Cornwall, Northumberland, Dorset and Staffordshire have also received extra government funds.

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