ONGOING calls for robust flood defences across Radcliffe and Bury are being fought at the highest level.

MPs and council leaders from Bury and Rochdale have labelled existing defence schemes as 'inadequate' and 'insufficient' in protecting residents.

An appeal for Government action and funding has been made, two years on from the devastating Boxing Day floods of 2015.

Bury Council has pledged £2 million towards the cost of flood prevention measures but said this has been met with 'volatile cost estimates'.

A letter has been sent to Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the environment, Thérèse Coffey MP, to lobby for investment.

The letter, signed by Ivan Lewis, MP for Bury South, reads: "Bury and Rochdale encountered flooding unlike any previous incidents in the Boxing Day Floods.

"More than 670 properties flooded in Redvales and Radcliffe in Bury, which includes areas within the top one per cent most deprived neighbourhoods in the country.

"Many of our residents are still traumatised by these events and rightly want to ensure action is taken to mitigate such an occurrence happening again. We are sure that you would agree that it is in everybody’s interest to progress schemes to provide resilience and enable safe and supported communities."

On Boxing Day 2015, Storm Eva caused widespread flooding across parts of Greater Manchester.

The highest water levels were recorded on 37 of 44 gauges in the River Irwell, Roch and Croal.

A flood defence scheme has been jointly developed by Bury Council and the Environment Agency since 2015.

It includes a mix of hard and soft engineering including flood barriers, flood plains and replacing bridges. The scheme covers an area from Bury Grammar School to Radcliffe.

The Grant in Aid (GiA), contributed via the Environment Agency from the Government's £2.5 billion capital funding, was described as 'insufficient in meeting the cost of adequate protection'.

But a further funding gap means plans cannot move forward.

Mr Lewis, James Frith, MP for Bury North, Bury Council leader Rishi Shori and Rochdale MP Tony Lloyd are behind the letter calling for action.

Mr Lewis said: "There is a need for schemes to be delivered at the earliest opportunity to safeguard our residents and we are keen to discuss this with you as a matter of high importance."

Cllr Shori added: "The Environment Agency working with the Council have put in a huge amount of work to draft detailed and fully costed plans for the development of flood defence schemes for Radcliffe and Redvales.

"The only stumbling block now is the finance needed from the Government.

"I have committed £2 million from the council to contribute towards the costs but a huge amount of resources are still required. We hope the new minister for flooding will agree to meet with us so that we can make the case for a scheme which we know will dramatically improve the lives of local residents."

Cllr Alan Quinn, cabinet member for environment on Bury Council, said: "What we’re asking for is a diary appointment as soon as possible. Even if we start now it’s a huge scheme. I know they would like to start it this year. It’s going to take at least two years.

"In Bury these are defences and they are an investment. On top of that, for our residents it will be peace of mind. They must be worried whenever there’s storm coming in."