Great Britain

Flood works ‘not on hold’ despite Coronavirus pandemic

RESPONDING to the coronavirus epidemic does not mean flood alleviation measures in Calderdale are going on hold.

Where work can be progressed safely and in line with the Government’s social distancing measures it will, partners told Calderdale Flood Recovery and Resilience Board.

The board met in virtual form by call-in on Friday and partners, who include Calderdale Council, the Environment Agency, Yorkshire Water and flood group volunteers, were assured that schemes will progress where they can and flood grants will be processed and paid out.

Councillors wanted reassuring that where schemes were ongoing, protection measures were completed if they could be.

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Jo Arnold of the Environment Agency said if they needed to respond to an emergency they are able to access the incident room, using social distancing measures.

The impact of the coronavirus pandemic on schemes was being assessed, but, she said: “Work is continuing where safe to do so, following social distancing guidelines.”

This included planning work for schemes set to start in the future at Hebden Bridge and Brighouse.

Some work had to go on hold because of related staffing issues, for example where they were in a vulnerable group, and likewise some supplies, such as tarmac, had been affected.

“It’s a watching brief at the moment on these schemes but hopefully a lot of work on Brighouse and Hebden Bridge schemes can still be done from home,” she said.

There would also be efforts to continue consultation with the local community but by different methods than drop-in hubs which had to be cancelled.

Calderdale Council Flood Programme Manager Neil Fearnley said although the council’s business teams were having to process hardship grant applications relating to COVID-19, grant applications from those hit by flooding were not being put on the back burner and were continuing apace.

Mr Fearnley said at Mytholmroyd and at Shade, Todmorden, where flooding caused issues with an old chapel building, work to make these places safe remained a priority on site.

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