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Flood action group will help protect villages

Volunteers form a human chain to get supplies into Whalley village hall during the clean up after the floods.
Volunteers form a human chain to get supplies into Whalley village hall during the clean up after the floods.
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A flood action group has been formed in Whalley and Billington, three months after the worst flooding in 50 years devastated both villages.

The group, known as Whalley and Billington Flood Action Group, aims to make sure that both villages are better protected and more resilient to any future flooding.

We will be working closely with the flood action group and other partners to identify solutions and secure funding to deliver measures to reduce flood risk and boost the community’s resilience

Lancs County Council

It has 20 members from a range of professional backgrounds and has been set up as a voluntary community group and limited company by guarantee with working sub groups to focus on tackling such issues as resilience, funding, engineering solutions and multi-agency liaison. The directors are Andrew Ronnan and Richard Wallwork who both live in Whalley.

Mr Ronnan said: “The distressing events brought out the very best community spirit possible so it was agreed that doing nothing was simply not an option. Our principle objective is to work with all necessary agencies to eventually put reasonable, professionally-qualified, civil engineering solutions to DEFRA that will offer better protection from flooding.

“We have already established excellent working relationships with the Environment Agency, Lancashire County Council and Ribble Valley Borough Council.”

Hundreds of homes and businesses were flooded out after torrential rain caused the River Calder to burst its banks the day after Boxing Day. Residents and volunteers turned out in droves to help launch a clean up operation and the Whalley Lions Club has spearheaded an intense social recovery and fund-raising effort over the last three months. President Gillian Darbyshire is heading the flood resilience sub group whuch will make sure that each organisation can lend support to one another if the flooding happens again.

Whalley and Billington FLAG will also be working to make sure the area gets its fair share of the additional boost of £700m. promised by the Government to spend on flood defences in the UK.

Phil Durnell, head of highways for Lancashire County Council, said: “Flood action groups play a valuable role to find ways to reduce flood risk. Lancashire County Council is currently investigating to ensure we understand all the factors which contributed to the flooding in Whalley and we will be working closely with the flood action group and other partners to identify solutions and secure funding to deliver measures to reduce flood risk and boost the community’s resilience.”

An online Flickr group has been set up for the public to share photos and videos of the flooding. These can be shared at www.flickr.com and search for the Flickr group “Whalley and Billington Flood Action Group”. For more details visit www.wandbflag.company or email info@wandbflag.company.