Council puts aside an extra half million for flooding

Todmorden centre under water in June 2012
Todmorden centre under water in June 2012

Calderdale Council has put aside £500,000 from its balances for any unexpected costs which arise from severe weather.

A report to cabinet said the authority had balanced its budget despite difficult financial circumstances including unprecedented flooding in the upper Calder Valley last year.

Balances stood at £8.592 million against the minimum target level of £5 million to meet unexpected expenditure.

Future commitments against balances will cost £1.088 million to support lower council tax levels and £160,000 towards the regional costs of hosting the initial leg of the Tour de France.

But council leader Tim Swift (Lab, Town) said that still gave some flexibility and cabinet agreed to replenish the severe weather reserve with £500,000 and support flood prevention work with another £500,000.

That leaves £1.3 million left unallocated above the minimum level of balances.

Councillors were told that the floods on June 22, July 9 and August 25, 2012, cost more than £3 million in repairs, with the council’s costs being around £1.5 million.

Extensive future investment is required to improve flood defences in the area.

The floods were among the most extensive and damaging in the upper Calder Valley in recent memory. The June river flood was classed as a one in 75-year event while the two surface water floods in July and August caused considerable damage, especially around Hebden Bridge.

Immediately after the floods, the council put into place the Calderdale Community Recovery Framework – a process to deal with the aftermath of emergency events. The aim was to return demands on public services to normal levels; to reinstate business activity and tourism to previous levels; and to ensure that damaged infrastructure was reinstated.