Last October over 90 Hebden Bridge residents signed a letter which the campaign group Ban the Burn sent as the residents’ submission to Natural England’s Uplands Evidence Review (UER).
The residents’ letter urged Natural England to ban burning and draining on Walshaw Moor Estate blanket bog, in order to allow degraded blanket bog to recover. Active blanket bog slows run off from the tops, and so has an significant role to play in reducing flooding in Hebden Bridge.
Hebden Bridge residents and Calderdale Council both want Natural England to make sure that uplands management reduces the risk of flooding in the Upper Calder Valley.
In a submission to Natural England’s Uplands Review, more than 90 Hebden Bridge Residents have asked Natural England to urgently review the terms of the Walshaw Moor Estate Environmental Stewardship Agreement (ESA). The residents say that the ESA doesn’t take proper account of local people’s needs for upland management that will reduce the risk of flooding in the Upper Calder Valley, and as a result, the £2.5m that the ESA will pay to Walshaw Moor Estate over the next ten years “represents exceptionally poor value for public money.”
Went for a walk to Heather Hill on Widdop Moor/Walshaw Moor to find out what blanket bog looks like, since I’ve been hearing quite a lot about it recently.
We couldn’t find very much, because most of it was very degraded. And what there we did find was very species poor. But this is a small patch we came across.
The Guardian has the full list of 294 flood prevention projects that were given projected spending in 2010 for 2011 and 2012, but didn’t receive any funds in those years, according to Environment Agency records.
This includes Walsden Water-Todmorden Phase 3, which was allocated £322K for spending in 2010, with further predected funding of £280K in 2011 and £2,110K in 2912.
The Guardian points out that this failure to carry out the 294 flood prevention works happened following Coalition government cuts of 27% of the Environment Agency’s budget.
All members of the public are welcome to attend the next meeting of Calderdale Council’s Economy and Environment Scrutiny Panel, on 26th July at 6pm in Todmorden Town Hall. The Calder Valley floods will be the only item on the agenda.
By the afternoon of Friday 22nd June, the tops above the Upper Calder Valley couldn’t absorb any more rain from the relentless downpour that had been falling all day. Roads to the valley turned into torrents, as water gushed out of field gateways and off the moors. According to Steve Sweeney, Calderdale Councillor for Todmorden Ward, this runoff caused the Burnley Road flooding in Todmorden.