Bid to hold back the flood: £250,000 grant to improve flood defences across ‘at risk’ areas of Heywood and Rochdale

By Matt Scrafton

Flood defences across Heywood and central Rochdale are to receive a £250,000 boost in a bid to reduce ‘at risk’ communities.

The money is being committed by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to help Rochdale Borough Council better protect homes and business from the risk of flooding.

Heywood and East Central Rochdale have historically experienced disruptive flooding and current data from the Environment Agency identify many parts of these communities as ‘at risk’.

Rochdale Borough Council’s Leader, Colin Lambert, explained how a successful bid from the council secured the funding, which is said to be ‘vital’ for improving the lives and well-being of local people.

He said: “Flooding can devastate people’s lives, causing costly damages and be a constant source of stress and worry if you live in a flood prone area.

“We hope to use the monies to provide better awareness of flood risk and how often simple but effective flood prevention measures can help to protect these vulnerable homes and help communities help themselves.”

The number of properties which are categorised as at ‘significant risk’ includes 100 in Heywood and 80 in East Central Rochdale.

The council, working with the National Flood Forum (NFF), will engage with residents to understand their ‘awareness, aspirations and concerns’.

The project is funded by the Flood Resilience Community Pathfinder scheme which is investing £5million in innovative flood defence projects nationwide.

Announcing the funding, Environment Minister Richard Benyon said the government wants to help local communities do more to protect their homes and possessions from the risk of flooding.

He said: “The Flood Resilience Community Pathfinder Scheme will enable communities to find simple, effective ways to minimise their flood risk, improve their levels of preparedness, and build confidence and increased peace of mind.

“All together with money from local communities and business raised through our successful partnership funding scheme, over £2.3billion is being spent to protect people from flooding.

“This is more money than ever before, and we are on course to better protect 165,000 homes by 2015.”

Picture courtesy of Pluralzed, with thanks.

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