£1.5m help set to come flooding in

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SCENES like this could be a thing of the past after the Environment Agency pledged £1.5m to improve flood defences in Croston.

The above photograph was taken in July last year when a rise in rainwater saw parts of the village submerged in water.

The repair operation cost thousands of pounds and a led to a group of residents setting up a flood action group.

The money will be used to construct defences that will reduce the risk of flooding to more than 459 homes and businesses and is budgeted to take place in 2013-14.

Cath Almond, who sits on the Lower Yarrow Flood Action Group, said: “We are over the moon and cannot believe that so much has been pledged towards it.

“This has been a problem for residents for years and we are always worried when it rains whether it will be enough to cause it to flow down the main street.

“We set up a group to discuss the problems and they met with Lancashire County Council, the Environment Agency, United Utilities and Chorley Council.

“They clearly listened to what we had to say.

“It is good news they also have announced where the money is being spent.

“It has come as a bit of a relief and perhaps finally we may be able to cope with heavy rainfall.”

Sally Sudworth, the Environment Agency’s flood executive for the North West, said: “The funding will bring huge relief to thousands of families and business owners at risk of flooding in the North West.

“The weather we have experienced this summer highlights the growing importance of flood risk management to local communities and the local economy.

“Only by working closely with local authorities and partners can we secure the funding we need to make a real difference, and I am pleased to say that this is something we do extremely well in the region.

“As well as building flood defences, we also work hard to identify flood risk, issue flood alerts and warnings and provide people with the information they need to stay safe.

“We would urge everyone to check their flood risk using our online flood map, and check our website for information about preparing for flooding.”

Coun Terry Brown, who oversees flooding issues for Chorley Council, said: “The council has worked closely with the Environment Agency and other partners to develop a flood plan and look at measures to try to protect homes and businesses during a flood.

“To get this funding from the Environment Agency is fantastic news, and we’re sure it will delight the many families and business owners in Croston who have suffered in previous years because of the effects of flooding.

“The council has played a key role in responding to flooding in Croston with our staff developing a flood plan, handing out sandbags to residents and clearing the area once the water has subsided.

“Although, flooding cannot always be prevented, this funding will certainly help everyone involved in the local flooding groups to develop some effective flood defence measures.”

County Coun Keith Iddon, who represents the local area, added: “I am just delighted that the campaigning for the people of Croston has paid off and we have achieved the funds and work can start.

“I am from Croston and I know what they have had to deal with and I want to say a word of thanks to the county hall officials who worked on it.”

Last year, Croston flooded in June and September as more than a month’s worth of rain fell in
24 hours, causing the River Yarrow to overtop its banks.

Chorley Council issued more than 1,000 sandbags on each occasion and was involved in the large-scale clean up after the village centre found itself under two feet of water.

Croston lies on the River Yarrow about 3km upstream of its confluence with the River Douglas.

In June 2012, at least 30 properties were confirmed to have flooded, predominantly from surface water flooding in the village.