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The River Roch, Rochdale and Littleborough Flood Risk Management Scheme (FRMS) seeks to address the high level of flood risk to the towns of Rochdale and Littleborough in Greater Manchester.
The towns have a long history of flooding with significant events recorded in 1991, 1995, 2008 and 2015. On the 26th and 27th December 2015, 324 properties were flooded during Storm Eva. The flood exceeded the previous highest recorded levels along the River Roch, causing widespread damage and disruption in the area. More recently there was flooding in the towns in March 2019, July 2019, November 2019 and 9th February 2020 (Storm Ciara). Several flood warnings for the River Roch at Littleborough and Rochdale were issued during Storm Christoph during January 2021.
The steep catchment and multiple tributaries cause the River Roch to respond rapidly to rainfall with river levels rising quickly. The urbanised river valley has an industrial heritage with a legacy of modified channels, bridges, culverts and weirs which further exacerbate the flooding problem.
|Phase 1A Planning Application Approved||May 2020|
|Enabling Works Construction Start at Gale||April 2021|
|Culvert Construction under the Railway at Gale||End of October 2021|
|Full Business Case Approval||Autumn 2021|
|Planning Application Littleborough Phase 1B||Late 2021|
|Construction start on remaining Littleborough Phase 1A areas and Littleborough Phase 1B||Spring 2022|
|Construction start Rochdale Phase 2||2023/24|
Last updated: April 2021
Since 2012 the Environment Agency (EA) have worked with key partners, listened to and worked with the local community to generate a flood risk management scheme to reduce the risk of flooding in both Littleborough and Rochdale. Technical feasibility, economic viability, environmental sustainability and social acceptability were all considered when deciding on a preferred option.
The Rochdale and Littleborough FRMS will be delivered in two phases. Phase 1 (Littleborough) and Phase 2 (Rochdale – downstream of Smithy Bridge). The EA are phasing the construction works in this way because by beginning upstream in areas of Littleborough, the benefits will include a reduced flood risk for residents and businesses not only in Littleborough but also in Smallbridge and Rochdale.
The new £56m scheme is led by the Environment Agency in partnership with Rochdale Borough Council, Network Rail, the North West RFCC, Transport for Greater Manchester, and the Departments for Education and Transport.
The Littleborough planning application will be further divided into two phases: phase 1A and phase 1B. This will ensure pace is maintained. The planning application for phase 1A was submitted on 24th January 2020. Phase 1B is forecast to be submitted to the Rochdale Borough Council planning department towards the end of 2021.
The Environment Agency are pleased to announce that have started construction of the first phase of the Rochdale and Littleborough FRMS. This first phase, known as the enabling works, will consist of constructing an access ramp from Todmorden Road (A6033) into the Gale West site (between the junction of Reddyshore Brow and Elim Street), constructing an access into the Gale East site (East of the railway line) and diverting Greenvale Brook within the Gale East site.
This phase consists of 8 work packages related to various locations within Littleborough. With the exception of the Enabling Works package, these works are forecast to begin in Early 2022. The works to be undertaken are:
Riverstone Bridge – Demolition of existing road bridge and footbridge and replacement with a combined road and footbridge, river channel widening and associated landscaping works.
Charles Street – Removal of existing bridge over the River Roch due to causing a constriction to flood flows in the river. Erection of infill wall to close the gap with wall mounted railing and associated landscape works.
Peel Street – Modification of existing flood wall to raise the height and associated landscape works.
Railway Street – Temporary works to allow 4 No. HGV vehicle movements, including temporary removal of existing bollards and installation of temporary barriers.
GNG Foam Converters – Construction of new flood defence wall in place of existing brick boundary wall.
Town House Brook – Raising of existing flood defence wall, installation of coarse trash posts, raising and extension of pedestrian ramp and associated landscape works.
Carriage Drive – Bank repairs to re-instate channel width and removal of debris in the existing culverts.
Gale Enabling works – please see section above.
This phase comprises of the proposed construction of a flood storage reservoir at the Gale site just off Todmorden Road. There are also three further linear defence works to be undertaken at sites within Littleborough to be included in this phase:
Preliminary detailed design for phase 2 (Rochdale) is now underway and the main detailed design study is expected to start in autumn this year – The Environment Agency look forward to engaging with residents, partners and businesses in the area at the same time once they have developed our proposals further.
The Environment Agency are committed to delivering the scheme as quickly as they can and will work closely with Rochdale Borough Council and other partners to ensure they are in a position to start construction works as quickly as possible.
The planning application for Phase 1A including the enabling works was submitted to Rochdale Borough Council in January 2020 and was granted in May 2020 subject to planning conditions. The planning application can be viewed on the Rochdale Borough Council Website here.
The Environment Agency are forecasting to submit the Phase 1B planning application towards the end of 2021.
The Environment Agency are now beginning to progress works for the Littleborough Phase 1a part of the Flood Risk Management Scheme. The first task that needs to take place prior to construction works is tree and vegetation clearance. The majority of the vegetation and tree clearance will take place around the Riverstone Bridge work area, but there will also be some minor vegetation clearance around Charles Street, Peel Street, GNG Foam Converters and Townhouse Brook.
All the trees and vegetation will be checked by an ecologist prior to removal to check for any birds and wildlife. The Environment Agency will only be removing trees that are preventing construction of the Flood Risk Management Scheme and all remaining trees within close proximity to the work areas will have root protection zones in place during construction.
The timber that is removed from site will all be reused for Natural Flood Management where it will be used to create leaky dams on the hills above North Manchester. Once construction works have been completed there will be significant landscaping of the work areas involving the replanting of trees which will be a range of maturity, sizes and native species.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Project Team via the email address in the Contact Us Section.
Final Drone footage showing completed Littleborough Enabling Works.
The Environment Agency are pleased to announce the completion of the Enabling Works at the Gale site in Littleborough. On the 3rd September 21, the Environment Agency’s contractor Volker Stevin demobilised from site and handed the site over to Network Rail and their contractor J Murphy & Sons.
Network Rail will have control of the Gale site from 6th September 21 until 6th December 21 to install a new box culvert under the railway during a planned closure of the railway line at the end of October. For any enquiries about the works on site during this time, please direct them to Network Rail on 03457 11 41 41 quoting the project reference MVN2 – Littleborough.
For any questions about the wider flood risk management scheme, please continue to direct these to the Environment Agency on RochdaleandLittleborough.FAS@environment-agency.gov.uk
The Environment Agency has some great news to report this week, the Gale West Enabling Works are complete. This means the traffic management on Todmorden Road has been removed 3 weeks ahead of the original planned schedule. The Environment Agency wishes to again thank the community for their patience while these works were being undertaken.
The works on Gale East are also coming to an end for the Enabling Works phase with the final site tidy and demobilisation happening over the next 2 weeks.
On Completion of the Enabling Works, the Environment Agency will shortly be handing over the site to Network Rail and their Contractors to install a new culvert under the railway line. This culvert is a critical new asset for the future flood storage reservoir planned for the Gale site which will hold water back and slow the flow of the River Roch and Greenvale Brook into Littleborough town centre.
Please note, updates to the flood hub will now be taking place monthly rather than fortnightly, but the frequency of updates will increase again as the Environment Agency begin the construction works of Phase 1a. If you would like to get in touch with the Environment Agency during this time, please refer to the Contact Us page on the Rochdale and Littleborough Flood Hub page.
This month the Environment Agency’s contractor Volker Stevin has faced some challenges up at the Gale site in Littleborough, primarily due to the weather. There has been some really dry weather which meant the ground became very dry and dusty. The dust was successfully managed on site using water sprays and a road sweep to keep the highway clean and tidy.
The dry weather was coupled with some very wet weather leading to a lot of the site becoming waterlogged. Some of the site resembled a lake rather than grassland! The team on site were able to manage this excess water issue and progress with finishing up the compound area on the Gale West site.
The watercourse diversion of Greenvale Brook on Gale East is progressing well, and the sewer diversion within the field is also near to completion with final tie ins and surveys being undertaken this week.
Despite the challenges this month, the enabling works are due to finish ahead of the original programme around mid to late August. This is down to the ongoing hard work from the team on site.
The key activity that has taken place since the last update is that the new Bailey Bridge has been lifted into place by the crane to sit on top of the piles at Gale West access ramp. This means the Environment Agency are now very close to having a completed bridge for construction vehicle access into Gale West.
Works on Gale East have consisted of the setting up of the compound and site fencing, digging out the new Greenvale Brook channel which brings the watercourse into the middle of the field and also the construction of new manholes and sewer diversion.
Over the next 4 weeks the Environment Agency and their Contractor aim to finish all piling works for the enabling works, complete the haul road and compound area within Gale West and surface the bell mouth (where the Access ramp and Todmorden Road meet). The final works are then forecast to complete in August.
The Environment Agency will also be undertaking some topographical surveys within Reddyshore Brow and Shottwood Fold to inform the further detailed design of Phase 1b.
‘Ongoing works at Gale West and Gale East sites.’
Works have been continuing at Gale West, with the majority of the piling works now been completed in readiness for the temporary bridge to be lifted into place with the crane next week.
Gale East works have started, a short section of Greenvale Brook was temporarily dried out and overpumped including a fish rescue (approximately 46 trout were rescued) by our aquatic ecologists. This allowed the contractor to create a temporary crossing into Gale East to transfer machinery and stone to start the haul roads and river channel diversion.
The Environment Agency and their contractor are working as hard as possible to progress the works at Gale West as quickly and efficiently as possible in order to remove the traffic management on Todmorden road as soon as possible. The Environment Agency recognises the disruption caused and appreciates the public’s understanding at this time.
Work has been ongoing at the Gale West construction site and is making excellent progress. So far, the weather has been on The Environment Agency’s side with the sun shining on Littleborough for the majority of April. This has meant all works so far are progressing as per the programme. April saw the start of works at the Gale West site off Todmorden Road, with Traffic Management installed, initial piling works and the delivery of the huge 130 tonne crawler crane (full list of activities completed up until the end of April 2021 shown below). Unfortunately the works at this stage of the Flood Risk Management Scheme are disruptive and The Environment Agency pass on their thanks to the Littleborough community for their ongoing support and patience as they construct the vital access ramp into the Gale site. These updates will continue to be posted every other week so check back here to track The Environment Agency’s progress.
Below is a list of the works completed up to the end of April 2021:
Enabling work on a £56m flood alleviation scheme in Rochdale and Littleborough will get underway in the coming weeks.
It features a range of measures to reduce the risk of flooding to 1,000 residential properties and 200 local businesses across Rochdale and Littleborough.
For more information, view our news article here.
The first phase of works involves tree and vegetation clearance at one of the Littleborough sites. The integrated EA, Jacobs and Volker Stevin project team working in close partnership with Mersey Forest and Rochdale Borough Council have used the wood arising from the tree clearance works for Natural Flood Management works in the Littleborough area. The Natural Flood Management works assist in upland land management to “slow the flow” of watercourses to support flood attenuation and flood risk arising from fluvial flooding.
The Environment Agency will continue to use Littleborough and Wardleworth Flood Action Groups to share information with residents as well as producing more newsletters and holding public drop-in sessions (subject to Covid-19 restrictions) linked to key stages of the project.
If you are outside the flood area and would like to be kept up to date with the Rochdale and Littleborough Flood Risk Management Scheme via email, please email RochdaleAndLittleborough.FAS@environment-agency.gov.uk to be added to the mailing list.
Visit Rochdale Borough Council’s website for flood risk information: www.rochdale.gov.uk/flooding.
You can also follow the Environment Agency on Twitter: @EnvAgencyNW.