FLOOD defence barriers have been deployed in Radcliffe in response to "persistent and widespread heavy rain."

Environment Agency (EA) staff have set up temporary barriers in the Close Park area as a "precaution."

The rising water levels in the River Irwell cause concern for residents across Radcliffe and Redvales where homes and businesses were devastated by the Boxing Day floods in 2015.

However the EA says that the outlook is for "increasingly settled and dry conditions" which will see river levels return to normal.

Construction of the first phase of a major £40million flood defence scheme to protect up to 873 properties from a repeat of that event has just begun in Close Park.

Colette Jones, who chairs the Radcliffe and Redvales Flood Action Group (RRFAG), said: "Every time I receive a call from the Environment Agency my heart sinks. People can't keep living like this. In March, it was touch and go as the river levels were very high.

"It does reassure you that the Environment Agency is keeping an eye on the river level but it is hit and miss where the rain is going to fall.

"It is just a shame that the actual flood defences are just around the corner still being built."

In March this year, the football pitches at Close Park, which are used as floodplain, were waterlogged due to torrential rain, and river levels near to Pioneer Mill were as high as 4m.

The basement of Radcliffe Market was also partially flooded, and many people took precautions by moving their belongings to higher ground.

An Environment Agency spokeswoman said: “Persistent and widespread heavy rain has seen higher flows for the River Irwell in Bury and as a precaution, our incident response staff have erected demountable flood barriers in Close Park, Radcliffe.

"River levels in some areas will continue to rise over the next few days in response to recent rainfall, however the outlook is for increasingly settled and dry conditions which will allow river levels to fall back to normal levels quickly.

“The Environment Agency has a large team of officers available 24 hours a day who are monitoring river levels and ensuring that any debris screens and channels are clear of debris.

"We will continue to have teams out throughout Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Cheshire over the next few days to continue reducing the risk of flooding."