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Littleborough Flood Resilience Group

Updated Jan 2024

The Flood Resilience Group is a sub group of Littleborough Civic Trust and was formed following the serious flood event in Littleborough on Boxing Day 2015. The aim of the group is to keep the people of Littleborough informed of all aspects of flood resilience and to provide refuge for anybody who may be unfortunate enough to need evacuation in the case of a future flood event. The group is mentored by a member of the National Flood Forum and has contact with other flood groups around the country to share advice and experiences.

Some time ago up on Blackstone Edge in the general area known locally as High Peak or Lydgate we worked with the Environment Agency; Rochdale Council; Liverpool University and River Ribble Trust, installing several water volume monitoring devices for run-off water from the moorland which ultimately ends up in Littleborough. Members of the Trust periodically download data from the devices and it is stored/used for climate modelling by the above agencies.

What seems to be a common frustration nationally is that local authority planning departments are unable to retain staff; thus understaffed and that planning applications are not given sufficient due diligence.

It is becoming apparent though that this somewhat stems from the Government's housing quota imposed on Local Authorities to reach the said quotas. All flood groups, including us, continue to take things forward at a national level. 


Not the best of starts to the New Year, heavy, sustained rainfall over a few days had the River Roch in Littleborough almost at flood levels and subject to an Environment Agency "Flood Warning". Fortunately the river level peaked just below the red line and any serious flooding was avoided.

Lots of low lying ground along the river however, did flood. Lots of photos/video on Discuss Littleborough showing this. One of the photos showed the fields in Smithy Bridge flooded, rather surprisingly, developers have shown an interest in building on this land.

The Group are continuing their regular Zoom meetings with the National Flood Forum who have written to Flood Groups asking for feedback from them of their own experiences when dealing with local authorities concerning planning applications in flood risk areas. The aim is to provide information and guidance to people who may not be familiar with planning systems.


Heavy rainfall mid February resulted in a number of Flood Alerts and a Flood Warning from the Environment Agency. Fortunately no serious flooding took place although low lying fields along the river, particularly Smithy Bridge did see some flooding.

With the relaxing of all Covid restrictions the Flood Group received further training from representatives of the River Ribble Trust and Liverpool University in the use of the data gathering loggers situated above Littleborough. The Pennine Township Grant Committee awarded grant monies to the Flood Group enabling them to purchase a small laptop computer for use collecting this data. The River Ribble Trust and Liverpool University provided the software and interface hardware. The Group can now assume responsibility for the download of data from the logger units.


Lower than normal rainfall so far this year (April) so no Flood Alerts or Warnings have been issued by the Environment Agency.

Data Logger readings are taken on a regular basis.

For anybody interested in the Flood Defence work being undertaken by the Environment Agency they can visit :--

www.thefloodhub.co.uk/rochdale-and-littleborough  or, alternatively, visit the Environment Agency cabin at Riverstone Bridge any Wednesday from 3pm. - 6.30pm. where details of the work can be viewed.

The National Flood Forum 2023 Spring Newsletter  can be found by clicking here

Go Compare have produced a newsletter giving useful tips on flood related matters. Copy the hyperlink below into your web browser to read it.