FLOOD protection groups have set out a long-term strategy to protect against flooding in their borough.

The Met Office issued an warning for Storm Aileen earlier this week, which brought heavy rainfall and winds up to 75 mph across East Lancashire.

The River Calder, Whalley, was ‘within an inch’ of breaking its banks following heavy rainfall over the week.

Cllr Ged Mirfin said: “The River Calder was within an inch from bursting its banks. The village is not well informed about what to do and this group are having to plan some flood relief works.

“Residents are terrified about the amount of rain that is going to come down. People have been looking at the skies thinking ‘here we go again we’re still not out of the woods’.

“Until long-term flood defences are put in place we well be in the same position.

“We are hoping to work with flood community groups to create a long-term capital investment for a permanent solutions to the problems of floods in Whalley and Billington.

The Whalley Flood and Billington Action Group, which was set up in April 2016 to work with residents who had been affected by the Boxing Day Floods in 2015, has sent out alerts to Billington and Whalley residents about the storms.

The group’s aim has been to reduce flood risk, create a resilience plan and a flood victim support plan in the area.

Richard Wallwork, one of the three directors of the Whalley and Billington Flood Action Group, said: “We have got a meeting which will talking about our new project called the ‘Great Wall of Whalley’.

“We want to build a wall that will run a few metres alongside the North bank of the river and will provide protection up to the level the government is prepared to give.

“We are hoping the wall will last up to 100 years and provide better protection then we have ever had before.

“The Ribble Rivers Trust have also agreed to work with us through ‘slow the flow’ which could be a good community project.

“The idea is to increase the level of interference to stop flooding occurring.

“For instance, a leaking dam filled with a couple of trees across the stream should stop the flow of water that builds up behind.”

Residents can learn more about the Great Wall of Whalley project, which covers Whalley, Billington and Padiham at an open day at Whalley Methodist Church Hall, on King Street on October 12 from 2pm to 8pm.

Co-director Gillian Darbyshire, said: “Lancashire County Council completed a full review of the River Calder and now have a plan which they will pass to residents.

“Representatives from the Environment Agency will talk people through their long term defence plans against flooding.

“We are also working with Ribble Valley Council to take and help people get measures in their homes too.”