A flood defence campaigner has pledged to set up a charity to protect the upper Calder Valley from future disaster after growing frustrated by the Government’s response to his concerns.
Barry Greenwood, from The Upper Calder Valley Flood Prevention Action Group (UCVFPAG), marched on 10 Downing Street last month with a petition signed by 2,000-plus residents demanding that urgent improvements were made to the area’s flood defences.
He has now received a letter of response from Prime Minister David Cameron’s correspondence officer acknowledging his concerns and outlining that they had passed the results of an independent river survey carried out by a chartered engineer and commissioned by the UCVFPAG to DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs).
But Mr Greenwood said he was unhappy with the response and is now exploring the option of setting up a charity, with Gift Aid tax relief and a VAT dispensation agreement, to carry out works on the River Calder.
He said: “I placed a time limit of three months from July 2013 for some positive action and start dates for the various projects. I will not wait any longer and will take measures to register the UCVFPAG as a charity.
“The money raised for the charity from businesses and residents will fund the works that are necessary to alleviate the flood problems and provide regular maintenance of the river systems.
“Everyone who donated to the charity will simply pay less tax to the Inland Revenue and by doing so will provide a service for themselves. Donations will also help the charity to attract and be awarded further funding from Government resources.
“To stabilise and minimise the effects of flooding throughout this valley we need urgent and swift attention which to date has been non-existent.”
Last month the Environment Agency announced a series of minor works for the upper Calder Valley.
A spokesperson said: “The Environment Agency welcomes an active interest from the community in the management of rivers and we are already working with the flood action groups to promote river stewardship.
“However, those wanting to carry out any work in the watercourse must first obtain permission from the Environment Agency as well as from other private landowners. This is to ensure that the work does not damage the environment or cause an increase in flood risk to neighbouring properties.”
For more information about the UCVFPAG: www.ucvfloodprevention.org.uk.