Flooding: Irwell Vale and Surrounding Areas

Part of NDAs: Universities – in Westminster Hall at 4:00 pm on 29th June 2022.

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Photo of Jake Berry Jake Berry Minister of State (Cabinet Office) 4:00 pm, 29th June 2022

Irwell Vale is a wonderful place, as my hon. Friend knows, as he has visited it. It is my main dog-walking route. I always do the leaflets there at elections as well, although that is not relevant to today’s debate. It is part of a string of villages and towns along the River Irwell, and the next significant town along is Ramsbottom, which is a wonderful place as well. A lot of what the Environment Agency is proposing in its current plan is about slowing the water flow down on the River Irwell. Although the plan is described as a linear flood defence, which might make colleagues think of me campaigning just to swoosh the water past my constituency and let it come over the top in Ramsbottom, that is absolutely not the proposal of the Environment Agency—even if it were mine, which it is not.

All the mitigation measures that the EA is taking further up the Irwell valley will benefit Ramsbottom, which has had significant flood events, particularly for local businesses, which I know my hon. Friend works closely with. Even though only 100 or so houses are identified to directly benefit from the work, it would in fact benefit the whole River Irwell catchment. As my hon. Friend will know, this is a river that goes into the centre of Manchester and has been responsible for flooding in Salford in the past. I know the Minister will want to look at the whole catchment approach. What we do in Irwell Vale benefits Ramsbottom.