UK Floods – Local Government Association Says 15,000 Homes Damaged in Winter 2015-16 Floods

A survey by the Local Government Association (LGA), which represents more than 370 councils in England and Wales, shows that over 15,000 (15,237) homes and businesses were flooded during the winter floods of 2015 to 2016 in England.

The LGA says that flooded homes and businesses were reported in eight areas. Cumbria saw 6,568 homes and 897 businesses flooded; Leeds 298 and 375; Calderdale 2,135 and 945; Lancashire 2,090 and 533; North Yorkshire 404 and 96; York had about 350 and 157; Northumberland 197 homes and 90 businesses, Kirklees 37 and 65.

Such was the damage last winter that local councils are still working to help flood-hit households and businesses recover from the devastation wreaked by storms Desmond, Eva and Frank.

The LGA said, “Staff have been working hard all year with volunteers and local community groups, keeping residents up to date with regular postings on their websites and through social media and special flood-watch apps.

“Councils have visited flood-hit areas to collect household items such as carpets and furniture to dispose of them. They have also been advising on flood protection grants, affordable insurance and how to clean up homes safely.”

Nationally, claims for damage caused by floods from last winter is expected to top £5 billion with thousands of families facing financial difficulty as a result.

Rebuilding and Recovery Projects

County, city and town councils in affected areas have embarked on a series of rebuilding and recovery projects since the floods.

North Yorkshire County Council created a £300,000 temporary footbridge within a month to connect the two sides of Tadcaster after the town’s 18th century road bridge over the River Wharfe collapsed due to the force of flood water. The council secured planning permission to widen as well as restore the main bridge using £1.4 million of LEP (local enterprise partnership) money on top of £3 million provided by the Government. The bridge is due to reopen early next year. The council employed geotechnical engineers to help stabilise the A59 over high ground between Harrogate and Skipton at Kex Gill after the road was closed for six weeks due to the hillside cracking following the heavy Christmas rains.

In Northumberland, the County Council has detailed the extensive repair programme, worth almost £15 million, that it is currently undertaking to repair the vast amount of damage inflicted on the county’s highway network by record-breaking wet weather in winter 2015 to 2016. The Tyne Valley, which suffered its most catastrophic flooding since 1771, was worst affected. Almost 200 homes were flooded across the county and in Corbridge more than 50 homes were evacuated as the swollen River Tyne burst its banks with some still not able to return home.

In the flood hit town of Hebden Bridge, the library finally reopened on Thursday 29 September, after refurbishment following the flooding at the end of last year. The Boxing Day floods caused more than £100,000 of damage to books, equipment, fixtures and fittings. Around 5,000 books, DVDs and CDs were ruined. The shelving, other furniture, counter and self-service machine were also damaged beyond repair and the children’s area was completely destroyed.