The Flood Resilience Group is a sub group of Littleborough Civic Trust and was formed following the serious flood event in Littleborough on Boxing Day 2015. The aim of the group is to keep the people of Littleborough informed of all aspects of flood resilience and to provide refuge for anybody who may be unfortunate enough to need evacuation in the case of a future flood event. The group is mentored by a member of the National Flood Forum and has contact with other flood groups around the country to share advice and experiences.
On Wednesday 14th August the group were on Blackstone Edge in the general area known locally as High Peak or Lydgate working with the Environment Agency; Rochdale Council; Liverpool University and River Ribble Trust, installing several water volume monitoring devices for run-off water from the moorland which ultimately ends up in Littleborough. Once the agencies are satified with the devices are correctly located and acheiving their intended purpose they will then hand them over to the group to monitor at regular intervals.
Again, Covid-19 has interupted this project but once allowed, the group will download the data and forward it to the agencies above.
We have not stood still during the Covid-19 crisis. We are having weekly Zoom/Skype meetings with many other flood groups around the country, hosted by the National Flood Forum. The theme (and what seems to be a common frustration nationally) throughout has been that local authority planning departments are unable to retain staff; thus understaffed and that planning applications are not given due diligence.
It is becoming apparent though that this somewhat stems from the Government's housing quota imposed on Local Authorities to reach the said quotas. All flood groups including us are beginning to formulate a strategy to take things forward at a national level.
Not the best of starts to the New Year, heavy, sustained rainfall over a few days had the River Roch in Littleborough almost at flood levels and subject to an Environment Agency "Flood Warning". Fortunately the river level peaked just below the red line and any serious flooding was avoided.
Lots of low lying ground along the river however, did flood. Lots of photos/video on Discuss Littleborough showing this. One of the photos showed the fields in Smithy Bridge flooded, rather surprisingly, developers have shown an interest in building on this land.
The Group are continuing their regular Zoom meetings with the National Flood Forum who have written to Flood Groups asking for feedback from them of their own experiences when dealing with local authorities concerning planning applications in flood risk areas. The aim is to provide information and guidance to people who may not be familiar with planning systems.
Heavy rainfall mid February resulted in a number of Flood Alerts and a Flood Warning from the Environment Agency. Fortunately no serious flooding took place although low lying fields along the river, particularly Smithy Bridge did see some flooding.
With the relaxing of all Covid restrictions the Flood Group received further training from representatives of the River Ribble Trust and Liverpool University in the use of the data gathering loggers situated above Littleborough. The Pennine Township Grant Committee awarded grant monies to the Flood Group enabling them to purchase a small laptop computer for use collecting this data. The River Ribble Trust and Liverpool University provided the software and interface hardware. The Group can now assume responsibility for the download of data from the logger units.
Lower than normal rainfall so far this year (April) so no Flood Alerts or Warnings have been issued by the Environment Agency.
Data Logger readings are taken on a regular basis.
For anybody interested in the Flood Defence work being undertaken by the Environment Agency they can visit :--
www.thefloodhub.co.uk/rochdale-and-littleborough or, alternatively, visit the Environment Agency cabin at Riverstone Bridge any Wednesday from 3pm. - 6.30pm. where details of the work can be viewed.
The National Flood Forum 2023 Spring Newsletter can be found by clicking here