RAPID action needs to be taken to prevent future flooding in Mirfield, says a leading councillor.
Coun Martyn Bolt says the town is prevented from building its own defences by Environment Agency rules, so he wants to see flood water channelled into designated areas.
“In Selby and Castleford there are areas where the water is allowed to overflow on land that’s not critical,” he said. “Locally we have the quarry at Thornhill or the former sewage works at Cooper Bridge that could be used.”
Dewsbury and Mirfield MP Mark Eastwood witnessed the recent flooding in a 4x4 vehicle with the help of volunteers from Mirfield Rescue Services.
And the Conservative Member of Parliament is now seeking a meeting with the Environment Agency and Kirklees Council in a bid to thrash out a plan.
Mr Eastwood said financial assistance was available to areas where homes or businesses were affected by flooding via the government’s emergency Bellwin Scheme.
“Some people have insurance and are fine but others do not because they are in a flood risk area,” he said. He added that where planning permission was granted by Kirklees Council on land that had subsequently been flooded, the local authority may have to pay compensation to the developer if it went back on its decision.
The John Cotton bedding factory on Huddersfield Road was badly affected in the recent flooding, as were units at the Holme Bank Mills business park on Station Road (pictured above).
Coun Bolt said he felt that Mirfield was becoming more vulnerable because of actions taken higher up the Calder Valley in Hebden Bridge and Mytholmroyd.
“Everybody has seen in the news a lot of flood defences going on up the Calder Valley but there is no mitigation to deal with that water as it is pushed further down.
“That water has got to go somewhere – but we have been told we cannot build flood defences in Mirfield that might impact further down the valley.”
The Environment Agency said their assessments are meant to ensure schemes are not protecting one community at the expense of another. “Kirklees Council completed a viability study in 2017 to identify potential options for reducing flood risk in Mirfield and Ravensthorpe,” they said.
“The review identified that because of the low levels of benefit generated by each option in terms of reducing flood risk versus the cost, none of the identified options were economically viable.
“The Environment Agency will continue to work together with Kirklees Council and partners to look at funding options and investigate the feasibility of reducing flood risk in Mirfield.”