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Largan column: 'We owe it to emergency workers to give them the support they need'

High Peak MP Robert Largan.

In his latest column, High Peak MP Robert Largan reflects on the Toddbrook Reservoir incident two years on and the work emergency services do locally to keep the borough safe.

Two years ago this week, parts of Whaley Bridge were evacuated when a major incident was declared at Toddbrook Reservoir.

We are all so grateful for the amazing response of the emergency services, the Royal Air Force and countless volunteers. Recently, I have had a chance to personally thank some of the emergency workers who continue to keep our area safe.

I visited Buxton Fire Station to have a chat with our awesome local firefighters and observe them on a training exercise. They have to train hard to deal with so many different kinds of emergencies. From saving people from burning buildings to fighting wildfires on the moors, they do an amazing job.

I’ve also been on patrol with British Transport Police in Buxton, Dove Holes, Chapel-en-le-Frith, Chinley and Glossop. As someone who has been mugged on a local train, passenger safety is particularly important issue to me.

I also took part in a training exercise with Kinder Mountain Rescue Team, acting as a simulated casualty that needed rescuing. Our local mountain rescue teams are absolutely brilliant and it was great to see their work up close.

Emergency workers have had to work under really difficult circumstances because of the pandemic and we owe them a huge thanks for everything they do. They make a really big contribution to our community, especially during times of crisis. We owe it to them to give them the support they need and to learn the lessons when things go wrong.

The Toddbrook inquiry has released the findings of its investigation, which uncovered that there were major design flaws in alterations to the dam carried out by the nationalised British Waterways in the 1970s.

Damage caused by the partial collapse of the dam at Toddbrook Reservoir in August 2019. 

Recommendations have also been made for improving the maintenance and monitoring of dams and reservoirs. I am glad that the Government has accepted the recommendations and has already started implementing them.

A £16 million plan to permanently restore the reservoir has been put forward and I know local people are keen to get this done as soon as possible so that the reservoir can be brought back into use.

It is also vital that we take the opportunity to improve the reservoir for future generations. Many people are very keen on the idea of a circular path around the reservoir and including a local renewable energy scheme too.

Whatever the future brings, it is important that we take a moment to reflect on those scary days two summers ago and how our community pulled together to get through it and come out stronger.

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