15 Sep

Vital flood scheme moves steps closer to completion

Five new areas of the £35m flood defences in the Upper Calder Valley are now complete with the whole scheme expected to be finished by the end of the year.

Progress so far on the Mytholmroyd Flood Alleviation scheme, which will help better protect almost 400 homes and businesses from flooding, includes:-

  • Greenhill Industrial Estate (Area B) is complete – new flood defence walls with an access ramp have been installed alongside Vale Upholstery’s building. Two new flood gates have also been put in place at either side of the private access bridge over the River Calder along with flap valves to help drain water away quickly if the defences do overtop.
  • St Michael’s Church (Area C) is complete – new flood defence walls including glass panels are completed next to and opposite the church and the river channel has been widened (up to 8m). Viewing platform and benches have been installed at the site of the former post office and the area is now open to the public, landscaped with trees and shrubs. The tennis courts have also been re-instated.
  •  River Calder and Cragg Brook Confluence (Area D) is complete - New flood walls in the gardens of Streamside Fold are complete - some of them are already beginning to change colour and blend into the local environment. Some glass panels and flap valves have been installed on the left and right banks of the River Calder. The repairs to the confluence wall following the movement of the existing structure during the February flooding is now finished with all temporary works removed from the channel.
  • Caldene Bridge (Area E) - A major milestone for the scheme was achieved on 18 May  when the new bridge opened to motorists and pedestrians. This was carried out during the height of the coronavirus pandemic and measures were taken to make sure all work was carried out in line with government and industry guidance for safe working. Demolition of the old Caldene Bridge, which was a major constriction to river flow, began on 26 May and the final lifting out of the bridge beams took place on 19 June 2020. Excavation works have been carried out to widen this section of the river and wall construction is ongoing. The area beneath the new bridge is nearly twice the size of the old bridge and the new two span bridge is 13m wider than the old Caldene Bridge which will help better protect homes and businesses from the risk of flooding in the future
  • White Houses to Hawksclough (Area F) – work is almost complete with glass panels installed on top of the strengthened and new flood wall, at the back the properties. The section of new wall and river bank stabilisation between White Houses and Hawksclough is finished and upstream, works at the back of Hawksclough Terrace have also finished including vegetation clearance and Property Flood Resilience. The access ramp and flood gate at the downstream end of the White Houses terrace and some glass panels are the only outstanding items.
  • White Lee Clough (Area H) is complete – A new overflow has been created from White Lee Clough culvert beneath Midgley Road to  divert water away from Mytholmroyd into the Rochdale Canal. This area has been landscaped with trees, plants, shrubs, hedges and grass seeded.
  • Brearley Fields Canal Spillway (Area 13) is complete -  a new canal spillway has been installed to re-connect the Rochdale Canal canal flood waters with the River Calder. The canal towpath has re-opened with a new footbridge over the concrete spillway.The embankment has been re-graded with erosion protection beneath. A new footpath at the base of the embankment has been installed as part of the Calderdale Council’s Brearley Fields Wetland Nature Reserve.
  • Luddenden Foot (Area L2) –  new walls, ramps and steps have been constructed in the gardens of properties and the bowling club. Reinstatement of the gardens and the  road repairs are finished. Property flood resilience work will also be carried out to some of the properties.

The flood defences have been developed by the Environment Agency in partnership with Calderdale Council. Design and construction of the scheme is being carried out by main contractor VBA, a joint venture comprising VolkerStevin, Boskalis Westminster and SNC-Lavalin’s Atkins business.

Since 2010/11, the Government has invested over £480m in flood defences in Yorkshire and the Humber.

Paul Swales, senior advisor for the Environment Agency, said: “The coronavirus pandemic has had an impact on the construction of Mytholmroyd flood defences, however, the project team has worked hard to continue to make progress, whilst adhering to Government guidelines for safe working.

“We now expect the flood defences to be completed towards the end of this calendar year, however this is still dependant on favourable weather conditions and provided that no other unexpected circumstances arise.

“Our team is working with the Department for Education to look at installing flood resilience measures to Burnley Road Academy which will be in addition to the flood defence works. This is a key asset for the village and will help reduce risk further to school children, parents and teachers from future flooding.”

Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Climate Change & Resilience Cllr Scott Patient, said: “It’s great to see that so much progress has been made with building these flood defences which will play a vital part in providing better protection for the Mytholmroyd community.

“I would like to thank local residents, businesses and commuters for their patience during the inevitable disruption caused to the village whilst this major and complex construction work is being carried out.”

During the next few months, wall construction will continue at Brearley upstream and downstream of the bridge -  this work had to be paused following the discovery of an additional arch on the listed structure. Planning permission has just been given to carry out work in the area near Scar Bottom Cottages and so vegetation clearance, wall construction and surveys for property flood resilience have got underway.

Regular updates about the flood defences are sent out to the local community and are available at https://eyeoncalderdale.com/mytholmroyd-flood-alleviation-scheme

If anyone has queries about the scheme, they can email: mytholmroydfas@environment-agency.gov.uk

Flood warnings give people valuable time to prepare for flooding – time that allows them to move themselves, their families and precious items to safety. 

To register for the Environment Agency’s flood warning service visit https://www.gov.uk/sign-up-for-flood-warnings or contact Floodline on tel: 0345 988 1188. If you are already registered, do check that your details are correct.

  • In the March 2020 Budget, the government announced that it will double its investment in FCERM to £5.2 billion over the next six years. This will ensure a further 336,000 homes and non-residential properties such as businesses, schools and hospitals are better protected from flooding and coastal erosion.
  • On 14 July 2020 the government announced an additional £170m will be spent on accelerating the construction of flood defence projects during 2020 and 2021 to drive growth and unlock a range of benefits for local economies. This includes £12m for extra measures in Hebden Bridge which was badly affected by last winter’s flooding.
  • Environment Agency flood schemes protected almost 130,000 properties during the winter 2019/20 flooding, even though water levels were higher in some places than the summer floods of 2007 when 55,000 properties flooded.