Local Liberal Democrats are applauding the efforts of local people and services in response to the floods across Calderdale but want to see more real support from national government.
“Yet again Calderdale has found itself suffering the effects of heavy rainfall” says Cllr Janet Battye, Leader of the Liberal Democrat group on Calderdale Council and ward Councillor for Calder ward. “The extent of the flooding across Calderdale has certainly been unprecedented and it’s important that our needs don’t get overlooked in the scale of flooding in the north. The Prime Minister, David Cameron, is promising help. We want to make sure that it happens. Our local MPs are scheduled to attend the next planned meeting of the Strategic Flood group in early January and that’s certainly the message that I’m expecting that they’ll be taking back to London.
“As I’ve gone around the area, I’ve been overwhelmed by the what’s happened in the communities along the Calder valley. Video footage on the Facebook page says it all: the torrent of water along the river and canal, the extent of the flooding and the damage it’s done. It’s heartbreaking to see people again clearing their homes out which they’ve only been back in for 3 years since the last major flooding, and the shops again clearing everything out.
“As Council Leaders, we’ve already talked about working with the Community Foundation and other local groups to help people get back into their homes, and shops and businesses get up and running again. Walking round and talking with people, they are appreciative of this although their first requirements are to get power back on again and help with getting rid of rubbish.
“I’m expecting that, as the law requires, Calderdale Council will do a thorough investigation with their partner agencies, especially the Environment Agency, to understand what happened and what other measures need to be taken to protect people’s homes and jobs. The current programme of work still to be done after the last floods is expected to cost over £30m, most of which is still unfunded, and this could now be much substantial and must be funded nationally if the government gives any thought or care about local people”
Councillor James Baker who chairs the Economy and Environment Scrutiny Panel on Calderdale Council added: “We are witnesses a tremendous amount of people power. Sikhs traveled up from Slough at 4am to help people affected, churches have opened their doors and Muslim lads from Halifax have been helping out in the upper valley. There are countless stories like this, people from all backgrounds are standing together and working together, and organizing on social media with very little help or support from the government. It makes you proud of the country we live in to witness this.
The Government needs to put money into flood funding to mitigate against the damaging affects of Climate Change. It also needs to reverse the cuts to things like Solar Subsidies and invest more in renewable energy. Only by moving to a low carbon future will we be able to reverse the damage climate change is already causing to communities across the North of England.