Delays in village flood protection work cause anger

The work

A £1m. flood alleviation project which will provide vital protection to 91 homes and 17 businesses in Earby is likely to be delayed.

The project has been set back due to a major obstruction being discovered while drilling the new culvert beneath the disused railway embankment just under halfway along the route.

The Environment Agency’s contractors, JBA Bentley, are working hard to find a solution so that the culvert repair can be completed as quickly as possible.

To reduce the impact on residents the current temporary traffic lights on the A56 will be removed today. They will be reinstalled for a shorter period of time when a solution has been agreed.

Next week new temporary traffic lights will be installed for around two weeks at the junction of the A56 and Victoria Road, near the Co-op food store, so that further sections of Victoria Clough culvert can be repaired.

West Craven councillor David Whipp has reacted angrily to news that work on Victoria Clough in Earby has suffered a set-back.

Coun. Whipp said: “It’s three years since I began campaigning for work to be carried out. After waiting years for this work to begin, I’m stunned that work has literally ground to a halt on the section of culvert that’s 90% blocked beneath the old railway line.

“This is the part of the watercourse which contributed to severe flooding on Boxing Day 2015 and the length in greatest need of being sorted out.

“The Environment Agency included a financial contingency in case of problems beneath the old rail line – are they saying they’ve now bust their budget despite this?

“Residents will be rightly angry that their homes remain at a heightened risk of flooding whilst this is, hopefully, sorted out. It’s just not good enough.”

Other elements of the project are said to be progressing well with the completion of 43m of structural re-lining of Victoria Clough culvert from the junction of Valley Road and Victoria Road. The road is expected to be re-instated and open by September 21st.

There will be some disruption to motorists using the A56 and Victoria Road. There will also be some parking restrictions on Victoria Road.

Paul Swales, flood risk advisor for the Environment Agency, said: “We would like to thank residents and businesses for their patience and understanding while we carry out this essential work to reduce flood risk and protect their properties.”

The flood alleviation project involves making Victoria culvert structurally sound. Culverts are structures which carry water underground. They were often built to allow development to take place around them such as roads, homes and businesses. Many people live and work near culverts and may not even know they are there.

A new culvert will be installed beneath the disused railway embankment to replace the existing one which has collapsed. The team will also re-line or replace a number of sections along the length of the culvert at locations under Victoria Road and the A56 Skipton Road.

A new and improved trash screen will also be fixed at the inlet of the culvert, to help reduce the risk of it becoming blocked with debris and making it easier and safer to clear when water levels are high.

The Environment Agency continues to explore other options to reduce flood risk from all sources in and around Earby. Over the next 12 months, the team will investigate the options in more detail, which include flood storage areas on Earby Beck, the New Cut and Victoria Clough and installing a flood defence wall at Boot Street.

The Environment Agency is looking for volunteer flood wardens to play a key part in keeping Earby prepared and informed before, during and after a flood. Anyone interested in becoming a flood warden can email heather.cottrill@environment-agency.gov.uk to find out more.

By signing up to the Environment Agency’s free Flood Warning service residents and businesses can receive flood alerts and flood warnings for Earby Beck and/or Earby New Cut directly to their phone and emails, 24/7. To find out if you’re at risk and register for Flood Warnings please visit: www.gov.uk/flood

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