A SINGLE-DECKER bus has been winched from the River Aire as efforts to deal with aftermath of the Bradford floods continues.

The 11-tonne vehicle, owned by Shipley charity Hale, smashed through a metal fence and swept 100 yards downstream as the Aire burst its banks and raged through Baildon on Saturday.

The converted 35-seater was picked up by the racing floodwaters and pulled from its garage base behind Carpet Warehouse on Otley Road.

It was flung through a fence and became lodged on a bank behind B&M stores, from where it was rescued this morning by a heavy haulage truck.

Hale’s chief officer Natasha Thomas was close to tears when she first saw the wrecked bus, which is used to teach healthy living and give sexual health education to youngsters across the Shipley area.

“What do we do now?” Mrs Thomas said.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

The Hale charity bus being recovered

“It’s all insured, but the bus had been carefully customised with a kitchen, toilet, sofa area and a consultation room.

“We will have to go on and get a replacement, but it’s so sad. It was such a good old bus.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

The stranded Hale charity bus

Meanwhile, people have been rallying to help flood-stricken Esholt Cricket Club.

Dry stone waller and landscape gardener Adam Dixon of Wrose grew up in Baildon and when he heard of the devastation at Esholt he volunteered his services.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

Dry stone waller and landscape gardener Adam Dixon

“I have a lot of mates around here and played at the cricket club a couple of times, so I thought I’d come down and help out,”said Mr Dixon, 30.

He was today repairing a stretch of collapsed wall near the cricket clubhouse, but fears are other walls could be at risk due to the huge force of the floodwater.

The leader of Bradford Council David Green confirmed between 300 and 350 properties had been affected by the flooding.

"We are working with the fire service and most of the properties have been pumped out now," he said.

"We are in the clean-up phase.

"We have seen an incredible response from communities across the district supporting each other to cope with what has been devastating flooding.

"In some ways, the response has shown Bradford at its best.

"We have had teams out with skips collecting damaged goods and the tip sites are open with no charges.

"We have now received additional sandbags and a small number of around 30 troops are out delivering those, mainly in the Bingley and Keighley areas."

Meanwhile, the offices of Travel Xpress, in Baildon, have been devastated by the floods.
A spokesman for the company said: "The building has been washed away, and our insurance didn't cover flooding.

"We have had no help from the council and no one has been down to help us, the manager has been sleeping in the offices because the security is down so he wants to protect it from thieves and vandals.

"Our landlord told us the building will most likely be condemned so we shouldn't touch anything."

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service said incidents of note between midnight on December 26 and noon today included:

  • 53 people reported stuck;
  • Five water rescues;
  • Two landslides;
  • One houseboat on land after flooding;
  • Six dangerous structures;
  • 76 reports of flooding, and, 
  • One National Resilience vehicle deployed from West Yorkshire to the assist North Yorkshire in the York area.

Area Manager Ian Bitcon said: “The flooding across West Yorkshire and the rest of the North of England over the last few days has been nothing other than catastrophic and our sympathies are with everyone who has suffered, particularly given that it happened at a time when people are celebrating.

"We have seen tremendous resilience from the community at large with people coming out in droves to help others and are proud to play our part in that both during the emergency itself, but also in helping people return to some sort of normality.

"Crews, including our control room staff, have worked tirelessly and we have seen some real acts of bravery in the face of very real dangers.

“We are asking people to be aware of the risk at the moment and even just a few hours rain could severely affect the water levels. When people are going back into their homes and businesses, we ask that they make sure that they do so safely."

West Yorkshire Police said a Strategic Command Group, comprising the emergency services, the Army and the Environment Agency and Local Authority partners, was monitoring the situation and holding regular meetings to share the latest information.

Assistant Chief Constable Andy Battle said: "We hope the worst has passed, but further rain is forecast and we advise people, especially those who have already been affected by the floods, to make sure they keep up to date with the latest weather forecasts and Environment Agency advice."

Residents can check the latest flood warnings by entering their details here.

River levels can be viewed here.

The Prime Minister has agreed to send more help to flood victims in the Bradford district.

Shipley MP Philip Davies said more resources had been allocated to his constituency after he made a further request to Defra Secretary of State, Liz Truss and to Floods Minister Rory Stewart.

The decision to offer more support to Shipley was made at the top level Cobra meeting chaired by the Prime Minister.

Army personnel were allocated to the Shipley constituency over at the weekend to help with the relief effort, but more has been requested by the Conservative MP.

Mr Davies said: "The Ministers have been extremely helpful in allocating resources to the Shipley constituency as we all know that the flooding is widespread meaning resources are thinly stretched. 

"Bradford Council's Emergency Planning Department have also done a wonderful job in dealing with the many requests for assistance I have been making them aware of.

"However, given the scale of constituents who have contacted me asking for urgent help I told the Ministers that we needed more resources and they have agreed to send them".

Secretary of State for Defra Liz Truss said: "At the Cobra meeting it was agreed to send more resources to Shipley and Bingley to help out following a request from Philip Davies."

Mr Davies also said the Minister also asked if Bradford Council needed any military planning assistance to deploy resources most effectively but the West Yorkshire Gold Command said that wasn't needed at this time.

Flood alerts remain in place on rivers across the Bradford district, with more rain and gale-force winds forecast for tonight.

The Environment Agency is still warning of flooding on the River Aire from Gargrave to Stockbridge, the River Worth from Oxenhope to Keighley, the River Spen at Cleckheaton, and the River Calder at Brighouse, although a number of flood alerts have been removed within the last 24 hours.

The latest information from the authority said: "River levels have now fallen below levels of concern and no further significant rainfall is expected until Wednesday.

"We are closely monitoring the situation and alerts and warnings will be reissued as required. Please be aware that there may still be standing water and debris around so remain aware of your surroundings."

The Met Office has issued a yellow warning of rain for West Yorkshire, starting from 7pm tonight.

Storm Frank is due to sweep across the country, bringing gales and downpours, but the outlook is not as bad as it has been for West Yorkshire.

Councillor Green said: "The forecast is better than it was 48 hours ago, and we are identifying areas that could prove to be flooding hotspots, to make sure we protect them as best we can.

"A lot depends on rainfall up the Aire Valley, but the ground in Craven is so wet the water is just running straight into the rivers.

"With the best will in the world, we can't hold back the rivers if they get to the state they were in on Boxing Day.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

Caravans at Esholt

"People are working throughout the day, and all measures are in place.

"We are working hard to ensure that whatever can be done, is done."

As anxious residents and businesses brace themselves for a fresh onslaught Sir Philip Dilley, the head of the EA, is returning to UK from his tropical family holiday in Barbados.

Asked how worried he was, Mr Stewart told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "Very concerned. These emergency services personnel have been working really hard, so have volunteers.

"I'm now working my way across Yorkshire, heading back up to Cumbria.

"People have barely had a break for three and a half weeks because this has been going continually since early December.

"As you say, there's another front coming in, there could be more flooding again so we really need emergency services, voluntary groups, mountain rescue to rest to be ready for what could be a very bad situation Wednesday, Thursday."

Motorists have been advised to drive carefully due to surface water on roads, and Denton Road in Ilkley remains closed pending an assessment of the bridge today.

Elland Bridge has been closed after the carriageway crumbled and collapsed after the floods.

Trains are now operating between Leeds and Bradford Forster Square, Ilkley and Skipton after flooding between Leeds and Apperley Bridge subsided.

Firefighters from West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service and have returned to properties in Stockbridge, Keighley, today to continue pumping water from people's homes as the clean-up continues across the district.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

The clean-up efforts at Esholt today

A spokesman said: "A band of rain, often heavy, will affect Northern Ireland during Tuesday evening, before spreading east across Scotland, Wales and northern and western parts of England during Tuesday night and Wednesday. Rain will be heaviest and most persistent over higher ground.

"Please be aware of the potential for moderate levels of disruption in places from both surface water and river flooding."

The floods put many homes across the district, including Bingley, into drakness.

Northern Powergrid said today that engineers had been working hard since the floods to successfully restore power to just over 36,250 homes and business of the 37,000 affected by Storm Eva.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

A stranded caravan in Esholt this morning

It said most of the properties that were still without power due to the flood waters and damage were in the Upper Calder Valley, primarily in the Hebden Bridge area.

"Currently, we have 714 of the remaining 749 in that locality," a spokesman said.

Advice for what to do if you have a power cut and what to do before, during and after a flood is available at www.northernpowergrid.com

Northern Powergrid is warning local people who spot any damaged cables or equipment not to approach the area as equipment may still be live and pose a risk of electrocution. Customers should immediately contact the company to report the damage on its 24-hour power cut enquiry numbers - 0800 375 675.

In Calderdale, the Council has confirmed there will be rapid financial support available for households and businesses affected by the floods.

For residents, Council Tax payments will be suspended for up to six months for homes severely affected and there will also be individual grants. The Council is asking for financial assistance from the Government and further details will be made available as soon as possible. 

For Calderdale businesses, business rates will be suspended for up to six months and the Council is exploring a range of grants and loans to help get businesses up and running. There will be detailed discussions with affected businesses about what would work best.

These schemes will be in addition to the grants being given by the Calderdale Community Foundation, which will be supporting personal hardship and community needs.

Calderdale Council is also concerned about the lack of available insurance for householders and businesses and will continue to raise this with the Government for an urgent solution.