Main water ways must be dredged

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Having read the publication of the Environment Minister, Dan Rogerson’s visit to Mytholmroyd and Hebden Bridge, I would like the opportunity to express my view.

It’s now over two and a half years since the 2012 floods devastated the Todmorden, Hebden Bridge and Mytholmroyd areas and Coun Steve Sweeney was quite right to criticise the Minister’s apparent lack of interest in the Todmorden area, but here we have the true picture of this coalition Conservative/Liberal Democratic government who believe that sending a “miniscule” Minister to some of the areas, would satisfy the population’s concerns.

If Mr Rogerson’s ministerial position was of any importance, then surely our Conservative elected MP, Craig Whittaker would have been present, but he wasn’t, so how pathetic is that?

I was present at the informal gathering in Hebden Bridge, and as you can well imagine, I was kept well away from the Minister.

Members of the flood committees engaged me in a very lively debate on what has been done and, in my opinion, what should have been done to prevent further flooding.

No matter what anyone says, the prevention of flooding starts from the ground levels and the uninterrupted flow of water through the major river systems.

It is ludicrous, if not suicidal to dredge and clear the connecting rivers and streams, such as Colden water, before making sure that the main river’s viaducts and bridges are clear to cope with the increased flow.

Since the 2012 floods I have campaigned on behalf of this community.

I have researched the benefits and disadvantages of dredging and maintaining the rivers, streams, dams etc. in order to obtain a better understanding of the objections raised against maintenance and dredging.

I conclude that, other than the financial implications, there is no reason whatsoever why the River Calder and Hebden Water should remain in their present, poor condition.

Following extensive and costly river construction works in the 1960s, from Hawksclough to Brierly between Mytholmroyd and Luddenden Foot, Brearly Fields became a high water flood plain and, during my research, many people have made suggestions that this area could become a wildlife sanctuary due to its swamp-like condition, with which I agree.

However, to achieve this there would be no alternative but to dredge and maintain the River Calder and Hebden Water to ensure that, during flood or drought, sufficient water was able to flow to the area, and that the wildlife would have the ability to reach the area rather than being washed over the walls into the towns’ streets.

Barry Greenwood

UCV Flood Prevention Action