KIRKLEES is seventh in the list of English council areas at greatest risk of flooding.
Cabinet members will this week need to finalise a strategy which aims to protect 27,000 properties at risk of flooding – around 15% of households in the borough.
The council admits it has few processes in place to “methodically understand and address local flood risk” and needs to develop, apply, maintain and monitor a strategy for managing that risk.
Tomorrow, Cabinet members will consider the new Kirklees Local Flood Risk Management Strategy which, using national definitions, puts Kirklees seventh behind Hull, Birmingham, Brighton, Doncaster, Leeds and Leicester in terms of general flood risk, excluding London boroughs and county councils.
It is 55th of all authority areas out of 150 in England.
Clr Peter McBride, Kirklees Cabinet member for Place, said the report was underway before 2012 became the wettest year on record in Huddersfield with 1,340mm of rainfall above an average of 746mm.
He said: “Initially I was quite surprised Kirklees was as high but we’ve the River Colne going through the town and it can create problems.
“My ward (Dalton) particularly is affected and I’ve had residents and businesses approach me about issues.
“This report is an evaluation of where the problem is in order for us to take appropriate action. It’s hugely important, for instance, for planning when they consider applications in the future.”
The report predicts the flood risk will increase in Kirklees as a result of climate change and new development pressures.
It reveals a once-in-a-lifetime rainfall event will affect 27,000 people. If that happened it could cost the local economy £700million.
The council says a more realistic scenario will affect 10% of the district, flooding 2,000 properties and causing damage of £70million.
The report adds: “The council has not historically invested in proactive local flood risk management and the response to flood events has been reactive, offering limited help and advice after the event.
“This strategy outlines a five-year programme of initiatives to enable us to better understand the location and size of local flood risk, improve our knowledge of surface water drainage, work with communities to make sure they understand their responsibilities and the actions they can take to manage flood risk.”
It adds the council needs to manage the flood risk from new developments, which will impact on future planning decisions.
Government funds have enabled councils to carry out legal obligations, which includes developing the strategy, managing the risk of surface water, ground water and smaller watercourses and approving, adopting and maintaining sustainable drainage systems.
The Environment Agency will continue to manage the flood risk from rivers and streams.