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Whaley Bridge evacuated as dam starts to crumble after heavy rain

Metro  Richard Hartley-ParkinsonThursday 1 Aug 2019

Dam Whaley Bridge Image. Metro

Dam Whaley Bridge Image. Metro

Thousands of people have been evacuated from Whaley Bridge as Toddbrook Reservoir dam faces collapse. The town’s 6,500 residents are being told they will need to find alternative accommodation until the dam can be secured.

They were ordered out of their homes as part of the Victorian dam collapsed and the Environment Agency said there was an immediate risk to life. There are fears that if the 1931 dam collapses, homes and businesses along the Goyt Valley will be inundated with 300million gallons of water.

People were this afternoon being told to leave immediately and anyone who was out of the town – workers or people having days out – was being told they could not return home. Evacuees are being told to meet at Chapel High School, Chapel-en-le-Frith, around four miles away.

It is not known how long people will have to stay away from the town, but police warned people to take their pets with them and enough medication for a number of days. Derbyshire police said: ‘Residents are asked to make alternative arrangements to stay with friends and family, ensure that any pets are taken with them and that all medication that may be needed for a number of days is taken with them.

If people do not have somewhere to go then they will be accommodated, however, there is limited capacity to do so. ‘If you are unable to leave your own home and require assistance please contact 101 and ask for the police.’

Anna Aspinall, 36, from Whaley Bridge, said she and others had been called to help place sandbags in the area around the dam, but were sent away after structural engineers advised ‘that the wall is at high risk of failing’. ‘We have had significant rainfall over the past few days resulting in the overflow of the reservoir, which is very rarely breached, being completely flooded over,’ she said.

 

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