River Calder dredging to stop Padiham flooding?

River Calder ... does this need dredging?
River Calder ... does this need dredging?
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Experts are looking at whether dredging gravel from the river in Padiham could reduce the flood risk to the town.

The Environment Agency is carrying out work to model the risk of flooding in the River Calder.

Agency officials are investigating whether gravel deposits in the river and around the Burnley Road bridge are increasing the risk to the town.

The results of the study will determine whether action needs to be taken to remove the build-up of silt to stop the river bursting its banks.

Anthony Shaw, of Park Road, had demanded action to former Burnley MP Kitty Ussher six years ago but says now his concerns are being taken seriously.

He said: “I spoke to MPKitty Ussher in 2008 and she said it was no problem.

“They were not prepared to do anything about it in 2008 but now they are changing their tune because of all the abnormal weather and record rain.

“It now seems like they are taking it seriously. The town centre could easily flood and something should be done about it.

“They are now looking at a model to see if they have to start dredging the river and cleaning out under the bridge because one of the outlets is blocked by gravel and sand.

“It should be unblocked because we don’t need extra risks.”

Christopher Tomlin, of the Environment Agency, wrote to Mr Shaw, explaining: “We are currently undertaking modelling of the Calder at Padiham to determine if the gravel is significantly increasing flood risk to Padiham.

“If it is, the modelling will show how much gravel needs to be taken out of the river channel to reduce the flood risk.”

Preliminary results are expected soon and a full scale report is due later this year which could determine if flood prevention work needs to be undertaken.

A spokesman for the Environment Agency confirmed investigation work, saying: “We are currently undertaking some modelling of the river at Padiham to see how flood risk could be managed in the future.

“We will consult with the community about any work that is proposed as a result of findings.”