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South Craven Catchment Flood Group

In 2004, the village of Sutton-in-Craven near Skipton, North Yorkshire suffered serious flooding from a water course known locally as Glusburn Beck. Around 70 homes were affected, most of which required extensive repairs and redecoration work necessitating the occupants being moved to temporary accommodations for around 6 months after the water receded. In one or two properties the flood water reached over 1m deep. The water was found to be contaminated with raw sewage, having overwhelmed local drains.

Image: South Craven Catchment Flood Group

Since then, the Environment Agency (EA) have carried out work to remove trees growing in the water course, and surveyed the area, creating a computer model of the village and the water course. They have also fitted meters in the water course up stream of the village, have appointed a flood warden and helped to set up a flood alert scheme in the village.

Following a number of meetings, the village of Sutton-in-Craven and surrounding areas were included in the Environment Agency’s 5-Year Flood Prevention Plan.

Unfortunately, in 2010 the Government at the time abolished the plan.

Image: South Craven Catchment Flood Group

Over the years flooding has occurred a number of times in the village, though fortunately not as significantly bad as in 2004. However, it remains of great concern to Sutton-in-Craven Parish Council who are seeking ways to prevent future flooding.

In 2016 the South Craven Catchment Flood Group was formed. It is made up of representatives from the Environment Agency, North Yorkshire County Council Flood Risk Management Team, North Yorkshire Highways, Craven District Council, Yorkshire Water, Yorkshire Regional Flood and Costal Committee, Sutton-in-Craven Parish Council, Glusburn Parish Council, Ward Members and Local Flood Wardens.

The meetings are led by Sutton-in-Craven Parish Council who after further flooding occurred in 2015 and 2016 contacted representatives from the groups above in a bid to look at what can be done to prevent flooding in the South Craven Area in the future.

The South Craven area includes Sutton-in-Craven, Cross Hills, Glusburn, Kildwick, Farnhill, Cononley, Lothersdale and Cowling amongst others.

On the 3rd February 2016 the first meeting was held.

Image: South Craven Catchment Flood Group

Working with partners significant progress has been made over time: -

  • Flood Resilience Grants in 2015, In South Craven 26 resilience grants were approved at a total of £122,053.00.
  • Community Resilience Plans have been/are being made by local parish councils.
  • Sandbag Stores have been set up in South Craven currently containing 1100 sandbags.
  • Area Committee Report – summarising the impact of flooding in 2015 across the county, identifying South Craven as a location of significant impact, and proposing the need for a flood investigation under Section 19 of the Flood & Water management Act.
  • Road maintenance work carried out including road edge repairs and improvements, digging catchpits, Gully clearance- sites identified which need prioritisation.
  • CDC Multi Agency Flood Plan Exercise – scenario was centred around Sutton-in-Craven and an evacuation resulting from rising water levels, with Sutton’s community emergency plan playing a central role in the response. This helped to highlight Sutton’s risks to the whole senior team at Craven District Council and the value of these plans.
  • NYCC Section 19 report completed for the South Craven area.
  • A local Levy fund was secured to support Strategy development.
  • Further Telemetry installed in Sutton Park.
  • Over 2,000 homes visited to raise awareness and promote the flood warning service.
  • A new up to date model of the catchment area has now been completed. This is being used to help develop a strategy, identifying potential solutions, quantifying benefits – number of properties/infrastructures better protected and assess outline costs.
  • A list is to be drawn up including engineering options and Natural Management options these will be used to develop a preferred option variable.

Image: South Craven Catchment Flood Group

Although things are moving positively there is still a long way to go.

With the UK currently dealing with the impact of widespread flooding and scientists expecting the warming world to lead to more extreme rainfall, these issues are of increasing concern. It is important we push on with the help of our partners in our efforts to establish a plan to effectively tackle possible future flooding in the South Craven Area.