RECOVERY operations are underway to help communities across Cheshire, Greater Manchester and Merseyside recover from flooding following the severe weather brought by Storm Ciara over the weekend.

Teams from the Environment Agency have been on the ground in affected communities, including Nantwich, Crawshawbooth, Irwell Vale, Ramsbottom, Rossendale, Wigan, Salford, Glossop and Kettleshulme, as well as Prestolee and Stoneclough, since the first bout of heavy and persistent rain over the weekend of February 8-9.

Community information officers have also visited towns and villages across the region offering information and advice as well as signposting people to help by working with local authorities. Across the North West, Environment Agency staff are still protecting properties by making sure rivers are clear from blockages and ensuring assets are ready to operate.

In Radcliffe and Redvales, the Environment Agency have praised the work of contractors BAM Nuttall, who are currently constructing Phase 1 of the area’s £40m Flood Risk Management Scheme. The construction team reacted quickly to plug gaps in the defences, to reduce the risk of flooding in Close Park, Bury and the surrounding area. BAM Nuttall also worked to infill the gaps at the end of Morris St, by using 3 large excavators to shape approximately 400 tonnes of material into a 2.5m high temporary flood barrier. This held back approximately 1.5m of water from the River Irwell and prevented flooding to a key community of around 100 properties and businesses

Through a combination of operating defences and assets, the Environment Agency were able to protect more than 12,000 properties and businesses and warn around 13,500 people in advance of Ciara’s arrival. Even with those measures in place, the severe weather caused between 140-150 properties across Greater Manchester to be affected by flooding with the Environment Agency still gathering vital post-flood information to determine the total figure.

Lee Rawlinson, area director for Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Cheshire said: “We are proud of the spirit and resilience our communities, partners and staff have shown once again in their rapid, dedicated response to the intense and unprecedented rainfall brought on by Storm Ciara.

“Our Field Teams were out in the area well in advance of the Storm clearing tonnes of debris from our rivers and worked 24/7 during the incident to keep communities as protected as possible. Over the weekend, our teams operated our flood storage reservoirs in the Salford area and, alongside our constructers BAM Nuttall, assembled temporary defences in Radcliffe and Redvales. We are continuing to check our defences after the severe weather and are operating them as needed to help keep people and properties safe.

“The focus now is on recovery. The Environment Agency’s flood assets protected thousands of homes and businesses but, sadly, some communities across the North West did suffer from flooding and we need to help them recover as quickly as possible.

“We are doing everything we can to support our communities. Alongside, our partners we are coordinating our field teams out on the ground in affected communities. They have been out around the clock – doing the most we can do to help protect communities from the impacts of flooding. We would also like to take this opportunity to thank our contractors BAM Nuttall who worked so hard alongside our teams to help prevent flooding to properties in Radcliffe and Redvales over the weekend. Their actions were a fantastic example of how partnership working can make a real impact in times of incident.”

Steve Hamer, project manager at BAM Nuttall said “BAM Nuttall have worked for many years with the Environment Agency as a key delivery partner to help reduce flood risk. This enables BAM to provide a fast and professional response by people who are experts in their field while being passionate about protecting communities from flood risk. BAM always try and go that extra mile to ensure the safety of every community we work with and ensure we have a positive impact during our short stay trying to improve their quality of life. And there can be no better way to show that than the actions taken by our dedicated and professional teams during Storm Ciara.”

With further heavy showers are expected to continue into the weekend as a result of Storm Dennis, the Environment Agency is advising communities to remain vigilant and stay safe over the coming days.

People are advised to sign up for our free flood warnings and keep up to date with the latest safety advice, call Floodline on 0345 988 1188 or follow @EnvAgencyNW on Twitter for the latest flood updates.