A “VERY late” assessment of Bradford’s risk of flooding is due to be signed off by Council bosses on Tuesday.
And opposition councillors say they still fear the authority is not taking the threat of flooding seriously enough.
Legislation introduced in 2010 required local authorities to create and publish a Flood Risk Management Strategy by March of this year.
The opposition Conservatives had called for Bradford Council’s deputy leader, Councillor Val Slater, to resign over Bradford’s failure to meet the deadline, saying it could jeopardise the district’s chances of getting flood protection funding.
Now the strategy has been through a public consultation and is due to be adopted.
Councillor Simon Cooke, the leader of the Conservatives, said: “It is good news it has finally arrived but it is very, very late.
“We are one of the last authorities to actually produce this strategy and I still worry that the Council is a little complacent about the significance of flood risk.” He said he feared there could be a repeat of the Boxing Day floods if the district suffered another sustained bout of wet weather.
Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw, executive member for regeneration, planning and transport, said: “The Boxing Day floods were on an unprecedented scale but of course you cannot completely eliminate the risk of flooding during sustained bad weather, which is why we’ve been working with the public and community groups throughout the year to help them become more flood resilient.
“There’s no single answer to minimising the likelihood and impact of flooding but the Flood Risk Management Strategy is another tool in the Council’s armoury.”
The new strategy has four aims:
- getting a better understanding of the flood risk so works can be prioritisedView Post
- allowing authorities and communities to work in partnership to manage flood risk
- ensuring emergency plans are effective and communities can recover quickly after flooding, and
- guiding planning and preventing inappropriate development.
The document says a succession of Atlantic storms last November and December caused “unprecedented” flooding in the district, with all four large main rivers – the Aire, Wharfe, Worth and Silsden Beck – bursting their banks simultaneously for the first time.
More than 1,000 homes were flooded and the estimated financial cost was £18m to residential properties and £15.5m to businesses.
It adds: “The personal impact on Bradford residents and communities is still being felt and long-term health impacts cannot yet be quantified.”
The district has been awarded £2.5m to repair the highway infrastructure after the winter floods.
In October, Yorkshire’s regional flood and the coastal committee also agreed to fund £850,000 of flood prevention work by Bradford Council and the Environment Agency.
This will be used partly to fund small-scale ‘quick win’ projects such as debris removal and riverbank works, as well as drawing up detailed bids for a further £8m of funding to pay for 15 large schemes aimed at protecting five areas hit by the flooding in December.
These are Silsden Beck, Keighley and Stockbridge, Bingley and Airedale, Baildon and Shipley and Esholt and Apperley Bridge.