Holly Lynch MP

Working hard for the people of Halifax, Illingworth & Mixenden, Town, Ovenden, Park, Skircoat, Northowram & Shelf, Sowerby Bridge and Warley

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Published 10/11/17

As we approach the two year anniversary of the devastating floods which hit the Calder Valley following Storm Eva, it’s a good time to assess some of the ongoing work that aims to better protect us in the future.

As the Labour Party’s Shadow Minister for flooding I’m following these developments particularly closely and have been getting involved with some exciting projects in Calderdale. A couple of weeks ago I joined Yorkshire Water at Gorpley reservoir above Todmorden helping plant the first of around 200,000 trees which will help reduce flood risk downstream.

Many readers will no doubt be aware of the growing significance of this kind of ‘natural flood management’. The idea is that for too long flood prevention has neglected the uplands, from where most of the water rapidly flows during periods of heavy rain. By creating an environment where water is slowed and absorbed before it reaches the valleys we can reduce the risk of conventional defences being breached. Tree planting is one method of achieving this, another is creating ‘leaky dams’ which consist of logs placed across upland water courses in order to hold more water in the countryside upstream. I’ll be joining local group Slow the Flow to help construct some of these in our local rivers next month.

Yorkshire Water are doing some good work in this area. They have announced that they will trial reducing the level of some of their reservoirs in Calderdale this winter to manage flood risk. If this practice is to become more widespread there are some issues that need sorting out in Westminster. At the moment water companies have a statutory responsibility to prevent droughts, with financial penalties if they fail to do so, yet there are no such legal responsibilities, or monetary incentives, to tackle flooding. This is something I’ll be urging the Government to address as I know from the number of letters I receive on this issue, that there is a lot of support for reservoirs being managed in this way.

It is crucial that if flooding does hit people’s homes and businesses that they are adequately insured to clean up the damage. The Flood Re scheme, which guarantees that many homeowners can get flood cover, seems to have been relatively successful in this area. However, it can still be improved as neither small businesses are included nor B&Bs and leaseholds in larger blocks. To get a clear picture of where things are working and where they can improve I’m leading a consultation for the Labour Environment team on Flood Re which will launch before the end of the year. I’m hoping local residents will be able to share their thoughts and I will soon be publicising full details on how to do this.

Halifax Courier Column: Tackling flood risk

Published 10/11/17 As we approach the two year anniversary of the devastating floods which hit the Calder Valley following Storm Eva, it’s a good time to assess some of the...

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Holly Lynch, Bradford MP Judith Cummins and Chair of the Fire Authority Councillor Judith Hughes joined West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service(WYFRS) crews on Saturday (4th November) to experience life as a firefighter on a busy bonfire weekend night.

Fire Chiefs described the evening as ‘busy but quieter than last year’ and called for a safe and enjoyable Bonfire Night tonight.

On Saturday evening crews came under attack twice in the Bradford area and once whilst an engine was returning to Halifax fire station.

Holly said: “On Saturday I witnessed first hand incredible partnership working from West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service and West Yorkshire Police, which has ensured our communities could enjoy themselves, and stay safe over bonfire weekend.

“However, it was disappointing that once again, crews in West Yorkshire were subject to attacks and had fireworks thrown at them whilst they were trying to do their jobs.

“The ‘Protect The Protectors’ bill will create a new offence of assaulting an emergency service worker to send a strong message that it is absolutely unacceptable to assault our 999 responders.

“The new law is currently progressing through the House of Commons and my experiences on shift this week will help shape it to make sure that it provides all the necessary protections firefighters require to stay safe whilst doing their jobs.”

Deputy Chief Fire Officer Dave Walton added: “We are pleased to report that whilst busy, we experienced a quieter night on Saturday than last year. Notwithstanding this, our crews came under attack from a minority of mindless idiots on two occasions in the Bradford area and once as they returned to Halifax fire station. Fortunately none of these incidents resulted in injury.

“As Bonfire Night itself commences we have seen already one attack on our crews and we urge people to think twice about this reckless behaviour."

Holly joins West Yorkshire Fire Service for eventful shift

Holly Lynch, Bradford MP Judith Cummins and Chair of the Fire Authority Councillor Judith Hughes joined West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service(WYFRS) crews on Saturday (4th November) to experience life as...

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West Yorkshire Police Federation have praised Halifax MP Holly Lynch for her campaign to offer more protection for police, firefighters and NHS workers from assaults which has been passed with cross-party support in the House of Commons.

Last year Holly began her ‘Protect the Protectors’ to deter people from assaulting emergency service workers, calling debates on the issue and introducing a bill to Parliament. Although the initial bill failed to pass due to time constraints, the bill has now been reintroduced as a ‘Private Member’s Bill’ by her Labour colleague Chris Bryant MP.

It would, for the first time, make it an aggravated offence to attack an emergency worker and offer greater protections against spitting.

Federation Chair Nick Smart has been working with Holly on the campaign. He said:

“It was my meetings and briefings with Holly in relation to the dangers faced by officers that led to that fateful night in Halifax with Holly and PC Gallant, that started the Protect The Protectors campaign.”

“She went out on patrol with PC Gallant, one of her local Halifax officers and ended up calling 999 for back up when they were surrounded by a group of individuals after pulling over a car.

“This bill is a massively important step forward in the campaign to impose stronger deterrents and stronger sanctions to better protect those who we all rely on. Any form of assault is unacceptable and is not part of the job for police officers or any other emergency service worker.

“Thanks to Holly’s phenomenal campaign we are hopeful that this law could be on the statute books as early as Easter next year.”

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The new law would apply to emergency service workers including firefighters, paramedics, and those involved in Search and Rescue. It has support from the Royal College of Nursing, Unison, the Fire Bridges Union, and the GMB union. 

Holly, whose parents both worked in frontline emergency service roles, said:

“It’s absolutely unacceptable that many hard-working men and women face serious assault and abuse simply for doing their jobs trying to keep us all safe and well.

“Any assault on emergency workers is unacceptable, and it’s about time the law reflected the seriousness of attacks on people working for the public good. 

“Society owes a debt of thanks to our emergency workers, so I’m delighted that this campaign has secured the backing of the Government which will massively increase its chances of passing through Parliament.

“After the debate in Parliament last Friday MPs passed this bill unanimously. This sends a clear message that we will not tolerate violence and abuse towards those who protect us, and it will hopefully help stem the tide of this worrying trend of assaults.”

Police Federation praise Holly’s ‘phenomenal’ campaign to protect emergency workers

West Yorkshire Police Federation have praised Halifax MP Holly Lynch for her campaign to offer more protection for police, firefighters and NHS workers from assaults which has been passed with...


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