Flood campaigner welcomes news that Earby has been awarded £200,000 from the Government's Frequently Flooded Communities programme
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“Pendle Council's engineering team submitted a bid for £2.5m. after the Frequently Flooded Communities scheme was first announced last July,” said Coun. Whipp.
“The funding would help pay to create an upstream flood storage area on Wentcliffe Beck above Earby's hostel. This would reduce the risk of flooding on Water Street and the area around the bus station.”
Following the Boxing Day floods in 2015, the Environment Agency (EA) commissioned a study into Earby's flooding. This identified three main causes: water from the Northolme direction; New Cut bursting its banks; and Wentcliffe Beck flooding down Water Street. The study recommended several projects, some of which have been carried out.
The Burnley Express revealed earlier this month that the Earby Flood Alleviation Scheme had been allocated £200,000 from the Government for the coming year. The news follows concerns raised in May 2021 when the Environment Agency pulled out of a £1.4m. flood alleviation scheme in Earby.
Mainly thanks to European funding of over £600,000, the risk from New Cut has been reduced with the construction of a higher parapet next to the Boot Street car park. This work has just been completed.
A bund has been built to temporarily hold water coming from Northolme and the Victoria Clough culvert has been restored to full capacity under the old railway embankment. Some natural flood management work, tree planting and creation of leaky dams, has also been carried out on the hillside above Earby with funding from the Leeds City Region.
An emergency pump and temporary barriers have also been provided to improve community resilience to flooding.
Coun. Whipp added: “The single most significant remaining risk of flooding, and the most expensive to address, is that from Wentcliffe Beck on Water Street. Historically, this is the most frequent cause of flooding in the town. The EA's broad brush estimate of cost was in the region of £6m. to create an upstream storage area.
“From their experience of carrying out the New Cut project at far less cost than the EA's estimates, Pendle Council engineers believe an upstream storage area can be built for around two-thirds of the cost of the EA estimate. The £2.5m. from the Frequently Flooded Communities programme would make a significant contribution to the scheme's costs.
“I'm assuming that the £200,000 announced will be for feasibility work on the Pendle Council proposal, including the appointment of a panel engineer consultant to asses the proposed temporary reservoir.
“I hope the feasibility work gives a green-light to the scheme, and that further funding will be forthcoming from future announcements to allow the full project to be carried out.
“It's been a battle at Pendle Council to get the council's current bosses to allow this scheme to move forward. Unfortunately, they don't see it as being 'council business'. They want to leave it to the Environment Agency. We know that that would be the death knell for the project and a recipe for yet more flooding in future.”