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  1. ITV Report

Pately Bridge residents thankful for £2m flood defence

By Kris Jepson

Residents from Pately Bridge, North Yorkshire, have told ITV News Tyne Tees they are thankful for the £2m flood defence system, which was installed in 2005, following Storms Ciara and Dennis.

Over the past fortnight the River Nidd has risen so high it was only a couple of centimetres from overtopping the defence.

Watch @krisjepson's report here:

Chris Hawkesworth is a flood warden in the village.

He told ITV News during the last two weeks there have been anxious moments for the people who live at the bottom of the valley.

The flood from the river used to come up to window sill level here and just a little bit above and so we put these sandbags out as a precaution two weeks ago because we thought the river was going to come completely over its flood banks. They came over a quarter of an inch of water and started to flood one of the small streets. It's tremendously worrying, because if it comes over the top of the flood banks, which are built to withstand a one in a hundred year event, we would have been swimming, 80, 90 houses, 10, 15 businesses completely swimming.

– Chris Hawkesworth
Sandbags Credit: ITV News

Ian Weatherhead has worked as a local butcher in the village for 71 years. Over the decades he has seen his fair share of floods.

The most prominent one in his mind was in 1998. That was seven years before the £2m flood defence was erected in the village.

There’s nothing you can do about it. It just goes straight through, out of the back door and then everything’s - you’ve such a lot of cleaning up doing, it affects the electrics, the refrigeration, it affects, you know, everything like. Well it’s made a vast difference. We got about two or three inches in here a week on Sunday. There were a lot of lads about that kept everything, got the drains cleared, everybody worked together and we were very, very, very lucky.

– Ian Weatherhead
River Nidd Credit: ITV News

The Environment Agency told ITV News around 25 per cent of its £2.6bn flood protection budget between 2015 and 2021 has been allocated to the North East and North Yorkshire.

They said the fact Pately Bridge has evaded flooding this year, makes that investment value for money.

So there are steel piles that go down into the ground as far as they need to hit solid ground. Then concrete reinforcing and then we dress the wall to make it look more acceptable for the community. We have to make sure that all of the pipes and the sewers and drains that go underneath it have got non-return valves on them or flat valves and then we have to fit gates like this so that the community can exist and function when we aren’t at risk of flooding, so they are difficult and complex to build and we can do it very, very well, but they do take time and we are doing it in many, many places and we’ll continue to build and design more defences across the region.

– Craig McGarvey, Environment Agency

Related Flood Report

Haydon Bridge in Northumberland was one of the villages flooded in 2015 by Storm Desmond.

Kris Jepson revisited some of the residents he met five years ago as they began the clean up following partial flooding from Storm Ciara.

Residents there said they would like to see similar success to the Pately Bridge flood defence in the future.

Watch the report from 10 February here: