A COMMUNITY flood plan is to be developed for Saddleworth as residents are encouraged to be prepared and protected against future flooding.
In December 2015, a month’s average rain fell in just 24 hours, leaving villages and roads flooded and the River Tame at its highest level since records began 18 years ago.
Now, the Environment Agency is working with locals, Oldham and Saddleworth Parish Councils and United Utilities to try to prevent the same problems occurring.
Lynsey Cottle, from the Environment Agency, told a Community Meeting at Uppermill Civic Hall: “We have not experienced anything like that before and were surprised by the sheer scale of it.
“There was flooding in 40 communities across Greater Manchester, with 3,500 properties flooded.
“We didn’t issue flood warnings in Saddleworth as the river didn’t reach our levels to trigger that – so we need to review those levels and learn from this.”
She urged the community to send them information and pictures of flooding in the area so they can build up a better picture of local hot spots and triggers.
The Environment Agency held drop-in sessions in February to gather feedback from the community and also carried out leaflet drops across the area.
They are now working with Saddleworth Parish Council to develop a comprehensive plan and investigate options to reduce flooding in the area.
“In a beautiful area like this people don’t always want defences like flood walls as they are not attractive so we are looking at other options and seeing what it viable,” Lynsey said.
“We can’t stop the flooding completely but if you plan head, it will have less impact on people’s lives and homes.
“Residents can add flood doors or barriers to their homes and buy pumps ready to use. It’s a good idea to have a cascade of phone numbers for warning system too.
“It is also a really good idea to set up a ‘community resilience store’ with spades, hi-vis jackets, pumps and flood signs so the aid is ready to use should you need it.”
Saddleworth Parish Councillor Keith Lucas welcome the plans but highlighted blocked drains and gullies as a contributing factor and called on Oldham Council to clear them out.
He said: “Some drains near where I live in Diggle have not been cleaned for two or three years and are blocked up.
“We need to make sure the Council has done their work to clear blocked grids, drains and gullies before we start running around with hi-vis jackets and buckets.”
Residents can send photos with details of time, date and location to Lynsey Cottle by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07917 246 493.
For more information about Property Level visit the National Flood Forum’s Blue Pages for advice on suitable products and solutions: www.bluepages.org.uk