An investigation will be held to determine whether a wind farm contributed to floods on Boxing Day in 2015.
Environment Agency bosses say that they are gathering information following concerns raised by Rossendale MP Jake Berry over the new Crook Hill wind farm, near Whitworth.
A spokesperson said: “At this early stage of the investigation we are unable to comment whether the wind farm caused flooding – we are gathering all of the relevant information and will share our findings with partners and the local community in due course.”
Partnerships for Renewables, who constructed and operate Crook Hill wind farm, said they ‘welcome the investigation and will co-operate fully’.
A spokesperson said: “Unfortunately, flooding has been an issue in Whitworth for a number of years prior to the wind farm construction and the situation experienced in December 2015 was an extreme flood event which also affected large parts of Rochdale and other areas of Greater Manchester.”
Rossendale MP Jake Berry said concerns were raised at a local flood forum meeting earlier this month.
Mr Berry said the issue needs to be investigated ‘as a matter of urgency’.
He said: “There have been major changes to the geography at the top of the moors and this needs to be looked into as a matter of urgency.
“After hearing this news from the latest flood forum meeting, I met with the Environment Agency and have triggered a formal investigation with them about the wind farm and the change to the watershed on Crook Hill.”
Partnerships for Renewables said the wind farm includes an ‘extensive network of surface water drainage and attenuation designed to avoid additional flows towards Whitworth’.
They also said they have worked closely with Rossendale and Rochdale councils and the Environment Agency throughout the construction and operation of the wind farm and have attended a number of local flood meetings.
A Lancashire County Council spokesperson said: “We will be carrying out further checks to find out whether the work to develop the wind farm changed the direction of the water flow in this area.
“We’ll also be consulting with colleagues at Rochdale Council, as the planning authority, to make sure that all the work was carried out according to the planning approval and conditions that were agreed.”
A Rossendale council spokesman said: “The Council is aware of issues with water run-off from Crook Hill Wind Farm.
“It welcomes the investigation by the Environment Agency on this matter and is committed to working closely with all relevant parties on this cross-border issue.
The turbines within Crook Hill Wind Farm are located wholly within Rochdale and Calderdale with only the access road within Rossendale”
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