Burnley MP Antony Higginbotham confirms £20m. more funding needed for Environment Agency's Padiham flood defence scheme

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Burnley MP Antony Higginbotham has admitted it “won’t be easy” to find £20m. of further funding needed for Padiham’s much-vaunted flood defence scheme, after it was revealed the Environment Agency had paused work on the project.

As revealed in the Burnley Express yesterday, the government agency confirmed rumours that the scheme to protect Padiham from future floods was being halted due to rising costs.

Burnley Council, which had been partners on the scheme, reacted with anger to the news with council leader Coun. Afrasiab Anwar saying that the council was deeply disappointed and astonished to discover that the costs of the project had more than quadrupled since 2020 to £37m.

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The Environment Agency confirmed to the Burnley Express that “Inflationary pressures and complexities at the site” have increased the cost of the Padiham flood scheme causing them to “pause construction”.

The River Calder burst its banks during the height of the Boxing Day floods in PadihamThe River Calder burst its banks during the height of the Boxing Day floods in Padiham
The River Calder burst its banks during the height of the Boxing Day floods in Padiham
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Burnley Council anger and disappointment as Environment Agency pauses Padiham fl...

Now, Burnley’s Tory MP has given his thoughts on the news.

Mr Higginbotham said: “Making sure that the businesses and residents in Padiham are protected from a repeat of what we saw in 2015 was front and centre of my mind when I was elected cecause nobody should have to live with that hanging over their heads. We all saw how the then MP allowed this issue to drag on, hoping something would be put in place.

“And this is why I got about to consistently pushing for what was needed from day one. Since then we’ve seen more than £10m. of government investment in building two flood defence walls, regular updates provided and much better protection should the river rise again.

“The next stage requires planning permission from Burnley Council, and up to £20m. of further funding which I’m now working to secure. That won’t be easy but my record so far on this speaks volumes. Padiham deserves nothing less.”

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The Environment Agency, Burnley Borough Council and partners have been working together on a Padiham Flood Risk Management Scheme. This includes flood walls and earth embankments as well as modifications to highways.

The proposals would have better protected over 150 homes, businesses, public buildings and key infrastructure in central Padiham. It will manage flood risk from the River Calder, Green Brook and surface water.

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