MP’s pledge to take flood defence case to PM’s door

Allan Elliott, of Calder Vale in Whalley, shows MP for Ribble Valley Nigel Evans the spectacular erosion of his garden by the river (the shrubs close to the river mark where lawn used to reach). Pic: Rob Lock.
Allan Elliott, of Calder Vale in Whalley, shows MP for Ribble Valley Nigel Evans the spectacular erosion of his garden by the river (the shrubs close to the river mark where lawn used to reach). Pic: Rob Lock.
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Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans has said he will make it “absolutely certain” the Prime Minister is aware of the damage caused by unprecedented flooding in his constituency.

David Cameron was in York today to see the extent of the flooding where he said another £280m was planned to be spent on flood defences in Yorkshire.

Deanna Johnson and James Murphy from the Kellie Hughes hair salon pile more sandbags outside the shop. Pic: Rob Lock.

Deanna Johnson and James Murphy from the Kellie Hughes hair salon pile more sandbags outside the shop. Pic: Rob Lock.

It had been hoped Mr Cameron would come to Whalley too to see the aftermath of the Boxing Day deluge, but the proposed visit to Lancashire was called off as darkness fell.

Prolonged rainfall on Saturday saw record breaking river levels, people evacuated from homes in Whalley, Ribchester and St Michael’s on Wyre, and widespread flooding elsewhere, notable to homes and businesses in Padiham and Earby.

Allan Elliott, of Calder Vale in Whalley, wanted to show Mr Cameron the devastating result of the torrents of water which flooded his property and tore 30ft. of his garden away.

Mr Elliott said: “The house has never ever flooded before. The water has got 4ft. inside of the house. I couldn’t believe it, and it all happened so quickly.

Members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association help Lizzy Highton to clear her grandfather's home.  Pic: Rob Lock.

Members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association help Lizzy Highton to clear her grandfather's home. Pic: Rob Lock.

“The garden has just gone. It’s like somebody has taken a big knife and just carved it away. It was all lawn and I used to mow it with a ride on tractor.

“I’m hoping for help with flood defences for the river bank which has moved so much. It needs to happen as quickly as possible.”

Teams of homeowners and volunteers from across the country continued the clean up operation in Whalley today.

However, the Met Office already has an amber ‘be prepared’ warning of rain out for Wednesday for Scotland and Cumbria ahead of the arrival of Storm Frank, while a yellow ‘be aware’ warning is in place for Lancashire.

Graham Landon from Poppies of Whalley with ruined files in the stockroom.  Pic: Rob Lock.

Graham Landon from Poppies of Whalley with ruined files in the stockroom. Pic: Rob Lock.

Nevertheless, supplies of sandbags were arriving in Whalley throughout the afternoon to bolster defences to protect homes and businesses from further flooding.

Mr Evans MP said: “I have been sending messages to the Prime Minister but I will make it absolutely certain he knows about it.

“We have had the Environment Secretary Liz Truss here and Sir James Bevan, Chief Executive of the Environment Agency, so we have had all of the experts in to look at this.

“People are fearful of what is going to happen in the short term hence the sandbags which are arriving.

Skips full of ruined furniture and fittings outside businesses on King Street in Whalley.  Pic: Rob Lock.

Skips full of ruined furniture and fittings outside businesses on King Street in Whalley. Pic: Rob Lock.

“We need to look at flood defences and make sure people are protected and are as safe as possible.

“I think we are all aware we had about one month’s rainfall in one day and we need to see what can be put in place for that Biblical event.

“There are clearly things we can do on some defence measures to prevent what we saw a couple of weeks ago to make sure that that doesn’t happen.

“Emergency planning is another area. I think Saturday was a lot better than what happened here in Whalley two weeks ago.

“In the longer term, I think we could look at whether the rivers need dredging. We need to see if it does work - to me it seems sensible.

“Also in the longer term, when we do get flash flooding we need to make sure we have the availability of fields to hold water, some of which are now being used to build houses and that has caused a lot of resentment.”