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Flood plans on the agenda
SOLUTIONS to minimise future flood risk in Northwich are being considered after September’s dramatic events.
The town centre was put on flood alert at the end of the month when abnormally heavy rainfall caused the River Dane and the River Weaver to swell and spill over their banks.
Flooding affected a number of businesses in the Bull Ring and in Dane Street, but the majority of traders breathed a sigh of relief when the water rose no higher.
But as Northwich is on the cusp of long-awaited redevelopment and investment, Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWAC) wants more to be done.
Clr Mike Jones, council leader, said: “After the floods in 2000 the Environment Agency (EA) has done a number of things to try to alleviate a lot of the problems and there are much improved systems in place to try to get rid of the water sooner rather than later.
“That hopefully reduces the levels and increases the capacity for additional water.
“The EA does have some more ideas about controlling the Dane, which is completely uncontrolled at the moment, and we’re going to pick up with that now.
“We need to find some way to hold the waters back for 24 hours so the peaks are different, then release the water after the peak has passed – that would avoid the rivers coming up to the levels they do now.”
Clr Jones has requested a meeting with the EA and Cheshire East Council, as the Dane may need to be controlled in the east of the county.
“We need to talk about ideas, see what we can do and see what’s cost effective,” he said.
Andrew Needham, who was on the North West Flood Defence Committee in 2000 and who attended the EA’s Regional Flood and Coastal Committee on October 12 this year, said there is provision within the EA capital programme for £4.7million for Northwich in 2014/15 – but this is currently only 35per cent funded.
He believes money would be better spent on regular maintenance of the River Weaver.
“Dredging could be a more cost effective measure to reduce the flood risk,” he said.
“More regular dredging seems a better use of money than a £4mililon capital scheme.”