Chair responds to Storm Ciara flooding
“The Combined Authority is doing all it can to support our partner councils as, yet again, communities across our region suffer the consequences of extreme weather conditions," says Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe.
Responding to the flooding caused by Storm Ciara across West Yorkshire, Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, said:
“The Combined Authority is doing all it can to support our partner councils as, yet again, communities across our region suffer the consequences of extreme weather conditions.
“This should be the moment that, as a country, we stop treating these events as exceptional, accept that we should expect them to occur more frequently in the light of climate change and invest in the flood defences and flood alleviation schemes we need to protect homes and businesses.
“Since the Boxing Day floods of 2015, the Combined Authority has invested £20 million from the Leeds City Region Growth Deal, alongside over £170 million of partner match funding for the City Region, into schemes covering Leeds City Centre, Skipton and Mytholmroyd to safeguard up to 1,385 businesses and at least 11,100 jobs from the risk of flood. The Combined Authority has also worked with partners to invest over £10 million of European Regional Development Funding in flood schemes across the City Region with a pipeline of further schemes currently being appraised.
“We’re also investing a further £2.6 million in the Wyke Beck Flood Alleviation Scheme in East Leeds, £3.9 million in phase two of the Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme and £1.7 million in natural flood management schemes in the Colne, Calder and Upper Aire catchment areas.
“Just last week, a further £1.9 million was approved by our Investment Committee to help start a £27.2 million scheme in Hebden Bridge being led by the Environment Agency which will reduce the risk of flooding from a 20% risk to a 2% risk in any given year.
“However we have consistently argued that further Government support is needed to match the scale of investment needed.
“In the immediate term we will be asking Government for financial support – similar to that put in place for the 2015 Boxing Day floods - to help people and businesses affected by these floods cope with the immediate impacts and get back on their feet. We are also looking at putting our own business grants scheme in place to help SMEs in particular continue trading.
“As the Transport Authority for West Yorkshire, we are coordinating the response of transport operators to the disruption caused by the flooding and providing people with the latest bus and rail travel information via @MetroTravelnews on Twitter on our Travel information website at and through our MetroLine call centre on 0113 245 7676.
“Ahead of the Budget we have asked the Government to provide £123m towards a £245m programme of flood protection work covering 27 schemes over the next six years.
“And, over the longer term, flood alleviation is also a key element of our devolution negotiations with the Government. The ability to build resilience to respond to climate change is a key element of our devolution negotiation with the Government. Securing the powers and resources to tackle major challenges such as the flooding incidents we have seen in recent years is an important part of building a meaningful devolution deal for our region.”
"In the coming days and weeks the Government must demonstrate its commitment to protecting our communities by providing the funding we need.”