After the Floods: working together will create a more resilient valley
Wednesday, 15 March 2017
A new project has emerged from the devastation of the Boxing Day Floods in December 2015 floods. With over 2,200 homes and 1,600 businesses seriously affected there was an immediate response from the public to help their neighbours in need.
This desire to work together continues through Calder Valley Rising, a project created to assist in the provision of projects and activities across the valley working in partnership with local communities, volunteers, local authorities and organisations, such as the Environment Agency.
The Canal and River Trust is seeking Heritage Lottery Funding for the Calder Valley Rising project to enable a more integrated, catchment-based approach to the management of water and land. The Trust will work with communities from Todmorden to Dewsbury to harness the enthusiasm and knowledge people have of their built and natural environment.
“There is an urgency to deliver change in the context of future extreme events, both drought and extreme rainfall,” explained Robin Gray, of Pennine Prospects, the South Pennines rural regeneration company commissioned to support the Canal and River Trust in putting together the funding bid.
“A key component of this approach is the recognition that working with natural processes to manage the sources and pathways of flood waters can benefit other parts of the catchment much further downstream,” Robin added. “Often referred to as Natural Flood Management this technique can help deliver many other benefits too, such as the creation of new wetland or woodland habitats, whilst being cost effective.”
If successful the five year project will bring together local communities, local authorities and organisations such as the Environment Agency, Yorkshire Water, Natural England and the South Pennines Local Nature Partnership, among others. It would create a more connected home for wildlife, reconnect communities with their waterways by making them more accessible and strengthen the connection between communities along the valley.
A stakeholder meeting has already been held in Hebden Bridge, with another scheduled for early April. The public are invited to share their views through an online survey and the funding bid will be submitted in June. The survey will be active until the end of March.