LOCALS WHOSE homes or businesses were flooded by recent storms could receive a grant of up to £5,000 to help better protect themselves in the future.
The Flood Resilience Grants are available for homeowners and businesses flooded during Storm Desmond and Storm Eva to help fund additional flood resilience or resistance measures for their properties.
The grant presents a great opportunity to better prepare for future flood events, both to prevent flood water from entering the property and to speed the recovery if it does.
Grants are intended only to fund measures which improve the property’s resilience or resistance to flooding, over and above repairs that would normally be covered by insurance.
Applications must be submitted by 31st December 2016 with all expenditure by 30th June 2017. For more information see Oldham Council’s website.
Applications should be submitted and approved in advance of any work being carried out. If applications are submitted after work has been started the homeowner/business may not be eligible for the grant.
Meanwhile, a flooding conference brought together local experts to look at forming a plan for Saddleworth, just days after heavy rain wreaked havoc across the area.
Organised by Saddleworth Parish Council, the Conference was opened by Cllr Katrina Roman, who was affected by the flooding in Slackcote herself.
This was followed by speakers representing various bodies tasked with dealing with flooding issues.
The Environment Agency, represented by John Kinsella, said there were two flood warning areas in Saddleworth – at Delph and Uppermill – as due to the geography of the area, the Tame responds to heavy rain.
On Boxing Day 2015 the Tame reached its highest level ever in both villages, yet this was still below the EA’s figure to trigger a river level alert.
Following this incident, the flood threshold in Uppermill has been reduced so an earlier warning should occur in future. The flood map around Delph is also being re-modelled.
Repairs have taken place on a collapsed culvert at Pickhill Brook and a lot of debris and blockages have been cleared.
Next year there will be a de-silting programme in the Tame at Uppermill. Structural surveys are also being carried out at Wood Brook in Grotton and at Slackcote.
The EA emphasised the importance of the public reporting blockages in the rivers as they do not have enough people themselves to patrol the whole length of rivers.
Oldham Council – the Lead Local Flood Authority for the Borough – is tasked with investigating all incidences of flooding in Oldham, and if necessary taking action.
Both Gordon Anderson and Antony Bhunu went through the flooding events in Oldham in the last year and said Oldham Council has yet to gather all the data on last month’s flooding.
Questions raised by the public included building new houses without any obligation to modernise the drainage system, and numerous trees overhang the roads which could be cut back to prevent blocked drains by leaves.
The issue of gully maintenance was brought up, along with availability and use of sandbags, which EA and OMBC believe can be ineffective and cause an environmental hazard when contaminated by floodwater.
Cllr Roman ended the meeting with a plea for Community Associations and others to gather information, using local knowledge, on where flooding occurs and who is most vulnerable.
Saddleworth Parish Council is now looking at producing a leaflet, with advice and up to date contact details for the various agencies, which will be available to all residents.
They are also looking at putting together resilience stores across Saddleworth, which will have equipment to help people during a flooding event, or other emergency, and in the immediate aftermath.