A RETIRED senior lecturer in geography from Stalybridge has blamed the local authority rather than global warming as a cause of floods in the borough, describing them as “an accident waiting to happen”.
To prove the case, Howard Lisle, from Mottram Rise, photographed every drain on the entire length of Mottram Road.
It was a painstaking operation which underlined the scale of the problem with a sizeable number completely blocked and Howard claims the trouble lies at the door of Tameside Council for its failure to clear drains.
And Howard’s findings came at the same time as the local authority revealed it is acquiring a second vehicle in a bid to get on top of the issues which the local authority has accepted.
Howard, who had been aware of the problems for some time while walking to the newsagents each weekend, said: “The article about the Millbrook flooding reminded me of the 2016 floods in Stalybridge and how the water surges down Mottram Road from the summit.
“I was caught in a heavy downpour recently and the rainwater was rushing off the roads on the uphill side of the road and then onwards to the lower end of the road.
“I walked the full length of the road and photographed every rainwater gully or drain. I’m not sure what they are called by road builders.
“Very few of them can take away the water as they are blocked. The recent resurfacing work on Mottram Road saw new ironworks fitted but below ground level there is debris.
“They used to be cleaned, but I haven’t seen that in years.”
Howard explained all drains on the upper part of Mottram Road are blocked and in heavy rain the water runs down to Bower Fold (Stalybridge Celtic’s ground) until it reaches a drain which can take it.
Further down Mottram Road, he added rainwater turns right at Fern Bank and then goes downhill.
Howard was surprised by the scale of the problem on Mottram Road.
He continued: “It looks as though some haven’t been clear for decades judging by the way they are blocked.
“There are plants growing out of them, another sign that they have been neglected for far too long.
“The problems are not caused by global warming – as a retired senior lecturer in geography I know all about it – but down to Tameside Council not having a programme to clean drains. It has been an accident waiting to happen.
“Don’t make the excuse about global warming if drains have not been cleaned for a decade.”
Lee Holland, Tameside Council’s head of environmental services, said the local authority is aware of problems on that section of road and the gully crew is programmed to look at that area.
- LEE Holland, Tameside Council’s head of environmental services, had some words of reassurance for residents when the issue of blocked highways drains and flooding was discussed at a meeting of Mossley Town Council.
Mr Holland revealed Tameside is in the process of purchasing a second gully wagon while in the interim the local authority had hired one to provide additional capacity.
But Mr Holland admitted there will no be a quick fix, with two wagons having 54,000 gullies in the borough to maintain.He said: “Having a second vehicle will make a significant impact though there would not be an overnight solution after gully cleaning had been cut by 50 per cent.
“We should get at least another 50 per cent capacity but we have a big list and it will take between 12 and 18 months before we see an improvement.”
Mr Holland likened the issue to somebody not maintaining their home and all the jobs then came at once.
“We knew there would be a problem if gullies were not cleared on a cycle basis and we were just reactive.
“Cyclic cleaning is most effective as you target an area rather than do one blocked gully in Mossley and then one in Droylsden and you spend 60 per cent of time driving between jobs.”
Mr Holland said Tameside Council will target key areas which are liable to cause flooding.
The issue of highway drainage was raised at Mossley Town Council by Cllr Martin Stimson.
He pointed out drains are blocked to such a degree that weeds are growing out of some of them.
Cllr Stimson pointed to recent flooding at Woodend Mill which he blamed on blocked drains as rainwater poured down Mill Lane and over Manchester Road into the mill with water having to be pumped out of the businesses.
• Mr Holland told the town council meeting that any problem gullies ought to be emailed to him at firstname.lastname@example.org and he will add them to the list.