Flooding in Sowerby Bridge occurs from the River Calder and the River Ryburn – the meeting of which is in the centre of the town. 2012, 2015 and 2020 all saw very similar flood incidents.
The Ryburn (and its tributaries) starts high in the Pennine peatlands, which are drained to fill five large reservoirs. As the river flows further downstream, the Ryburn is heavily restricted by steep hillsides on both banks before entering the town of Sowerby Bridge, where built up mill complexes and restrictive channels and bridges cause bottlenecking and overtopping.
The impact of flooding affects many businesses and some residential properties, as well as creating very restrictive access conditions, blocking the A58 and many minor roads in, around and through the town.
Throughout 2020 modelling and investigation work has been conducted by our consultant, Arup. This modelling has looked at catchment wide natural flood management measures to support any containment options.
We now have an approved Strategic Outline Case (SOC) which as identified potential options for flood risk reduction. The preferred option is likely to be a suite of measures to reduce flood risk in Sowerby Bridge. The next step for this project is to develop a sound baseline hydraulic river model for the River Ryburn and its confluence with the River Calder. The current data we hold is limited and over 10 years old, so requires updating. Once we have a sound baseline, we can then assess the potential options to see which have the greatest benefit to reducing flood risk.
We will be carrying out some surveys works from 21st August to 21st September 2023. As part of informing our continuing design work, looking at potential options to reduce flood risk, we need to carry out a number of in-depth surveys at various locations in the area. This includes Threshold Surveys, Cross Section Surveys and Topographical Surveys. These surveys will give us a good understanding of flooding in the town of Sowerby Bridge.
The surveys will be undertaken by Arup and Survey Operations on behalf of the Environment Agency. Most of this work will be carried out in the roadside or from public accessible areas and not cause any disruption, but you may see staff from Arup and Survey Operations in and around the area during this time.