Council Leader calls for reassurance for Wakefield on future flood defences
Ref: PR 6152
The Leader of Wakefield Council is asking the Government and Environment Agency to give assurance to Wakefield residents that any future flood defences further upstream do not have a negative impact on the district.
Following the major flooding that occurred in Leeds, York and Calderdale at the end of December, the Environment Agency and the Government have pledged to review the flood defences in these areas.
Cllr Peter Box CBE is calling for an urgent meeting to ensure that Wakefield is part of any new flood defence planning and that the district will not suffer if new flood defences are implemented upstream.
Cllr Box said: "The Wakefield district was very fortunate to have narrowly escaped the worst of the flooding last month, although a small number of residential properties were flooded. However, there was a point when the river level where the Aire and Calder meet at Castleford was within 30 cm of overtopping.
"Any greater volume of water would have created major difficulties for Castleford. This means that our district must be considered as an integral part of the long term planning for flood defences across the region.
"We are all aware of the devastation caused to many of our neighbours and I fully support their calls for improved flood defence, however any solution upstream must not have a negative impact on Wakefield.
"It is clear that the Government must now have a complete rethink of flood defences and must ensure that all local authorities are fully involved."
Four residential homes and 30 businesses were affected during the December floods in Wakefield.
Wakefield Council has been working with residents and businesses to offer support to those affected. Skips and bulky waste collections have been provided free of charge to help with the clear up and Council Tax relief for three months has been made available to those who were flooded inside their homes.
Cllr Box added: "Regardless of the scale of flooding I know that on an individual level the impact is equally upsetting and destructive.
"I can reassure people that this Council will do all we can to support the residents and businesses who are affected and that we will lobby the Government and Environment Agency to ensure Wakefield is fully involved in planning flood defences for the future."