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A number of areas in Calderdale are prone to floods. Some of the health problems connected to severe flooding are:

  • A greater risk of enteric infections due to disruption of sewage and water systems.
  • The disruption of chemicals, which may be a health hazard.
  • A greater risk of vehicle accidents, hypothermia and drowning.
  • A greater risk of mental health problems.
  • A greater risk of disease/infection due to clean up of flooded premises.

The local picture

Calderdale has suffered from flooding on numerous occasions, with the most severe incidents occurring in Summer 2012 and December 2015.

In December 2015, Todmorden, Hebden Bridge, Mytholmroyd and Sowerby Bridge all suffered from unprecedented levels of flooding. Properties also flooded in Elland, Brighouse, Copley and Luddenden.

Detailed information on properties and business affected can be found on the Council's open data platform. For details, please visit: Calderdale Data Works: Flood data .

We do not know how many properties flooded, but the best estimates are:

  1. Figures from the Analysis of Environmental Agency (EA) mapping of flood affected areas:
    • Total residential premises affected - 5,315.
    • Total businesses affected - 2,609.
    • Total premises affected - 7,924.
  2. The figures that have been identified on the ground in locality hubs to date:
    • Total residential premises affected - 2,781.
    • Total businesses affected - 1,635.
    • Total premises affected - 4,416.

Damage to households included widespread water inundation at ground floor level with others affected by flooded cellars. Given limited space in back to back properties, cellars are often lived in and/or house 'white goods'. There were widespread power outages due to flooding of substations. Some of these were out of action for up to four days. Some properties did not have electricity for weeks due to their electrics being flooded. Around 40 still did not have power two months after the flood.

Given Calderdale's headwater location, flood waters recede relatively quickly. Although, flood water in cellars and silt debris remains an issue for some time after.

Residents have typically gone to family and friends initially with around 30 formally rehoused by the Council or partners. This number will rise as displaced parties seek longer term interim accommodation.

Eight schools were affected by the flood. Burnley Road Academy at Mytholmroyd (250 pupils) was closed for several months. Plans had to be made for the pupils to go elsewhere. Scout Road was also indirectly affected due to a landslide.

A number of adult and child care facilities were put out of action or damaged by the flood. This included the Hebden Vale Centre which provides day services and the Customer First and Library base at Hebden Bridge. The Fire Station at Mytholmroyd and the Police Station at Sowerby Bridge were also damaged. In Hebden Bridge, the Tourist Information Centre and Youth Centre has been flooded along with Mytholmroyd's Community Centre. Two General Practitioner (GP) surgeries and three chemists have been affected.

Some voluntary groups like the Citizen's Advice Bureau have suffered damage to premises, which hinders what they contribute to the recovery. The Community Transport base at Luddendenfoot also sustained flood damage.

There are concerns over wider health impacts. Our experience is that, notwithstanding fears over floodwater contaminated with sewerage, actual impacts of diarrhoea and sickness or worse tend to be limited. However, advice on sensible precautions has been issued and will continue to be spread. A long-term impact will be the emotional and psychological effect of homes and property being lost or damaged by floods. Although, at the moment we do not have any data on the numbers with health needs due to the flooding.

Current provision

The Calderdale Flood Recovery and Resilience Programme details the Council's plans to aid recovery after the floods.

The main actions are around:

  • Community.
  • Business.
  • Infrastructure.
  • Media, communications and public affairs.
  • Prepare.

We have created a 'Floods Commission', which is made up of seven elected members. These are from all three of the main political parties. They consider the causes, impact and response to flooding across Calderdale.

Members invite written submissions and hear evidence from local residents, community groups, businesses and key agencies, like the Environment Agency.

For more about the commission, see: The Calderdale Flood Recovery and Resilience Programme.

For details of our response to the floods, visit: Calderdale Data Works: Flood data .

User views

At the moment, we have no information on this.

This is something that the Flood Commission will be looking to address.

Unmet needs

For details, please see: The local picture, section above.

Projected future need

Given that severe flooding has occurred twice in the past few years, it is likely to occur again.

Its impact depends partly on the work that we and our partners do to improve resilience before the next flood.

Key considerations linked to the known evidence (what works?)

References and further information


This chapter was compiled from various Calderdale Council sources by the Public Health Intelligence Team (February 2016).

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