08 Mar

Minutes: Hebden Royd Flood Action Group Hebden Bridge Town Hall 21st January 2016

1 - Present: Steve Hoyle, John Buttery, Robin Dixon, Andrew Entwistle, Jo Arnold (EA), Debbie Barton, Diane Monahan, John Ludlam, Judi Chrysanthou  

2 - Minutes of 17.9.2015: Agreed.

3 - Matters arising, unless covered by the agenda: We agreed to drop the idea of Hebden Royd assisting with minutes.

4 - Summary of recent flood from Jo Arnold, Environment Agency: There is to be a separate meeting with several new volunteers for the Flood Warden role. Over 7,000 properties in Yorkshire were flooded, including 2,500 in Calderdale, 2,500 in Leeds, and 500 in Bradford. The rain arrived earlier than predicted, and then did not move as fast as expected. The EA incident room was open from 25th December to 9th January. Jo gave figures for the maximum heights at river level recording stations and details of the flood warnings issued. Jo was not able to give details or maps of the depths or sources of floodwater street by street.

Comments included: Several people noted the contribution to the flooding from the canal, both where it had breached and in other areas. In Mytholmroyd, one member noted that they moved from Alert to Severe Warning with no intermediate stage, while the adjacent area received an intermediate Flood Warning and therefore more notice of the increasing risk. Jo Arnold was given the written details of these areas. Waves of water were seen on Hebden Water and the Calder. The effect of the limited capacity at the confluence of the two rivers and the extra resulting flooding was observed. Communications during and immediately after the flooding were very difficult and formal services were initially scarce. The emotional impacts of this flood and the worry during future heavy rainfall were noted.

5 - Financial update: Steve Hoyle gave details of the funds held by Hebden Royd Council on behalf of the group. When the account was set up there was a balance of £22059 made up of the funds of the Hebden Bridge and Mytholmroyd groups. £12475.52 remains. Restocking the existing containers will cost about £1500 if replacement supplies only are bought. Hebden Royd Council and the Calderdale Community Foundation Appeal may be sources of further funding.

6 - Flood Stores:  There was disagreement about sandbags. One view was that using public money for private households and business premises was not appropriate, and that large quantities of sand were donated soon after the flood. Others thought that the bags had been well and effectively used during the two smaller events before Christmas, that their value at Callis and the ATC had been recognized, and that donations after the Boxing Day event did not change the issues around what was needed before a flood. The container in Mytholmroyd was not accessible to residents across the river for some time, and there was no provision in Luddendenfoot. The Picture House store contents were well used and a good proportion of the equipment has been returned. A letter from a Callis resident was noted. It’s contents have been checked with other residents and Murts. DB was concerned about Copley. RD thought Mytholmroyd could extend to Luddenfoot, but not to Sowerby Bridge.

Conclusions: The group agreed to investigate possible stores near Elphaborough Close and in Luddendenfoot, and to consider an application to the Community Foundation appeal fund for these. RD to start putting a possible bid together and trial use of a pair of walkie talkies given the early communication problems.

Recommendations about location of stores, contents, and use should be made by the volunteers and wardens who will use each store. Stores may not be identical as local circumstances will vary.

SH will co-ordinate re-ordering.

AE will ask the Resilience Board to identify collection points for returning used equipment during office hours and to look at the needs of areas lower down the valley.

DM to send her notes for circulation with these minutes.

7 - Contact and Publicity – Mobile phone top up, Eye on Calderdale, Change of e-mail? Not discussed.

8  - Any other business: Summary of offers of help received via the Flood Group e-mail-not discussed. Sandbag disposal-not discussed.

9 - Date of next meeting: 17 March 2016, 4.00 at Hebden Bridge Town Hall - AGM