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More transparency called for in flood resilience planning

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Thanks to Bob Deacon for this info

The Hebden Bridge Partnership, representing over 40 community organisations in the town, has called for more transparency in the way the Environment Agency and Calderdale MBC begin planning the Flood Alleviation scheme promised by October 2016.

In its submission to the CMBC Flood Commission it recommends that beginning on March 11th (believed to be the date of the next meeting) "all meetings of the Calderdale Flood Alleviation Partnership involving CMBC, the Environment Agency, Yorkshire Water, the Canal and River Trust etc are held in public and that a public record is maintained of the meetings". It also "recommends that a review is undertaken of the channels through which the Environment Agency announces its current plan of work, and the resources available for this".

Since the annoucement by Liz Truss a month ago that this planning would get underway it has proved impossible, the Flooding Road shows notwithstanding, to get a clear picture of who within the Environment Agency is doing what with whom to begin this work. The meeting called by our MP for April 16th, while welcome is a long time away.

In relation to the specific work planned for Hebden Bridge information was gleaned at the Feb 13th Flood Road Show that the Hebden Bridge Flood Alleviation scheme team have now been funded to draw up a business plan to take planning the work forward.

The HBP has recommended strongly that early conversations take place between the Hebden Bridge Flood Alleviation Team and organised interest groups such as the Hebden Royd Town Council, Hebden Bridge Partnership, Hebden Bridge Community Association, Hebden Bridge Business Forum, etc and the public generally before thinking of the team gets too set.

The issue of transparency arises too with regard to the quite unacceptable way that Northern Powergrid have mishandled compensation payments for those left without electricity after Boxing Day.

The Hebden Bridge Partnership has requested the Flood Commission to make urgent representations to both Ofgem and Northern Powergrid to a) change Ofgem regulations so that in future consumers are compensated (by central government subsidy) for outages that fall under the exceptional clause where Northern Powergrid are unable to access substations for repair work and b) Northern Powergrid address the current unacceptable inequity of treatment by not using the exceptional clause in the current flood and do compensate equitably all affected consumers in the valley.

See also:

HebWeb Feature: BOXING DAY FLOODS 2015