Eight months ago serious flooding affected our part of the North of England – and much of the UK. I blogged about it after it happened. Homes and businesses were inundated, roads were cut off and properties lost or badly damaged.

At the time I asked whether the UK deserves a ‘F’ for flooding… so I have been watching some of the recovery efforts. For instance roads around us have only just now been repaired; some are still under restricted flow as banks and foundations are shored up in areas where highways were practically washed away, in some cases into nearby watercourses.

Calderdale Council recently produced three infographics to capture something of the scale and process of the flood itself and about recovery efforts. I’m now sharing these here, with each picture linked back to the source for easy reference. The first covers the flood impacts:

Photo: Calderdale Council's infographic about the 2015 Boxing Day floods. Source: Calderdale Council.
Photo: Calderdale Council’s infographic about the 2015 Boxing Day floods. Source: Calderdale Council.

Multi-million pound loses for local businesses and infrastructure are clear, and the impact on wastewater utility services is also stressed – 10 sewage pumping stations were reportedly affected (we’ve also suffered major water outages earlier this year, in what may or may not be flood-related repairs and maintenance).

The next infographic summarizes recovery aspects:

Photo: Calderdale Council's infographic on the recovery effort from the 2015 Boxing Day floods. Source: Calderdale Council.
Photo: Calderdale Council’s infographic on the recovery effort from the 2015 Boxing Day floods. Source: Calderdale Council.

Millions of pounds have been pledged for the recovery effort and, interestingly, there have been ‘[n]o flood water related illnesses reported’ (although attribution of specific illness incidents to the floods would of course be challenging).

Finally, taking a longer-term view Calderdale Council has also visualized the ‘resilience’ measures following on from the floods, aiming to ensure the same impacts don’t occur again:

Photo: Calderdale Council's infographic on resilience activities since the 2015 Boxing Day Floods. Source: Calderdale Council.
Photo: Calderdale Council’s infographic on resilience activities since the 2015 Boxing Day Floods. Source: Calderdale Council.

More money has been pledged for infrastructure above and beyond the direct repairs in the second infographic. Capacity is also being built in technology and people, with a new radio network, volunteer networks, and community hubs.

I’m still following the Calderdale flood support Facebook group so I’m aware that these Council level – and in some parts national level – responses are unlikely to be seen as perfect or all-encompassing. There remains much to be done on national policies and practices around land and water resources management, as I’ve said before – and on climate change mitigation and adaptation policy and practice.

Overall I was happy to see Calderdale Council step-wise addressing the relative severity of the recent floods in this way, and showing some ‘best practice’ by not forgetting about the building resilience follow-on aspects. If you’re aware of similar communication efforts by other local authorities in the UK – or elsewhere – do let us know and we’ll post a link here too about them.

Duncan Thomas

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