Exploring ‘out of the box’ natural solutions

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Following the destructive Boxing Day flooding, many people in the community, who say they are “exasperated by the lack of effective flood preventative measures initiated since the last major flood in 2012”, have started to “think outside the box” in terms of creating an effective flood defence strategy for the Calder Valley.

Judi Chrysanthou read a newspaper article praising the innovative “natural” flood defence measures put in place in the North Yorkshire town of Pickering.

The main approach adopted by Pickering was to tackle flood potential at source, on the uplands and valley-sides; identifying the key flood catchment areas and then installing a range of simple but effective methods, she said.

Inspired by the Pickering community’s “Slow the Flow”campaign, Barry Greenwood, of Mytholmroyd, invited Judi to spend the day with him in Pickering meeting Mike Potter (flood managemen group) and Nick Odini (hydrologist scientist ) and the BBC, whose One Show covered the visit.

As a result of this collaboration, Judi has organised a community flood defence meeting at the Town Hall on March 18, from 11am to 1.30pm. Two of the leading members of the Pickering ‘Slow the Flow’ campaign will be visiting Hebden to give presentations, including Nick and Mike.

Also presenting will be Stuart Bradshaw, a geo-hydraulic engineer living in Hebden, who has written a report A Flood Alleviation Strategy for the Lower Calder.

The flood preventative measures proposed in his report mirror the ecologically-friendly, natural, small scale, low-tech measures installed in Pickering, said Judi.

Alan Cooke will also be coming up from Bedford to show some of his ideas and Simon Crowther , director of Flood Solutions, will be giving a demonstration of his company’s water barrier.

Everyone who has been flooded or affected by the floods - or simply interested in protecting Hebden, Todmorden and Mytholmroyd from future flooding - is welcome to attend, said Judi.

l The final meeting of a Floods Commission series of roadshows will be at Hebden Bridge Town Hall, Monday, March 14, from 7pm – 9pm, which will be on upland and countryside management. Topics include moorland management, reservoir capacity and farmland usage and drainage.