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Latest updates on multi-agency effort to stabilise dam wall in Whaley Bridge

However, the threat to life in the town remains 'significant'.

The water level at Toddbrook reservoir has now been reduced by six metres following the continuing efforts of a multi-agency team to ensure the stability of the dam wall.

Once a level has been reached -- and is able to be maintained -- engineers will view the damage to the wall and a decision will be made regarding when it is safe for evacuated residents and businesses to return to Whaley Bridge.

Over the past days the dam wall has been packed with 530 tonnes of aggregate which is now being cemented into place to reinforce the structural integrity of the spillway.

The RAF Chinook Helicopter is expected to be utilised again in the next 24 hours, as efforts continue to maximise the integrity of the dam. This is the best way to move large amounts of sandbags to even out the aggregate that has been placed in the wall, which needs to be even to reduce pressure.

The Environment Agency are monitoring the flow of water into the River Goyt, and surrounding water courses, and these are coping well at the present time. These are being monitored and direct liaison is happening between all agencies involved around these levels.

Derbyshire Constabulary, Deputy Chief Constable Rachel Swann, said: “The team at Whaley Bridge have made excellent progress over the last five days in ensuring that we quickly drain as much water as possible from the reservoir and work to reinforce the dam wall.

“That being said, the situation in Whaley Bridge still remains critical and there is still a significant threat to life to those in Whaley Bridge and the surrounding Goyt Valley area.

“Local residents were invited to attend a meeting last night at Chapel High School, in which I was able to directly address lots of questions about the incident at the reservoir. The minutes from the meeting and subsequent answers can be found on our website.

“One of the questions we have been asked frequently by the public and media outlets is around the number of residents who returned to their properties in Whaley Bridge during Friday and Saturday and then failed to present back at the road block at which they entered.

“The number of those who remain in Whaley Bridge now stands at 20 from 16 properties. We will repeatedly visit these people to remind them of the risks they are posing to themselves and emergency responders, however there is no specific legislation under which we can force these people to leave.

“I would though like to once again thank the majority of residents and businesses who have been evacuated from Whaley and the surrounding areas, for their patience and the support they have shown to the emergency services and dedicated agencies who are working to keep them safe.

“The sense of community spirit and togetherness has been wonderful to see.

“We will be holding a further residents meeting at 5pm at Chapel High School tomorrow evening and would encourage all local residents and businesses who have been evacuated to attend so that we can talk to you directly about the progress that is being made.

“Anybody that wants to attend who has any special requirements, such as hearing loop etc is asked to contact us on pressoffice@derbyshire.pnn.police.uk so that we can make the necessary arrangements.”

The address for tomorrow’s residents meeting is as follows: Chapel School, Long Lane, Chapel-en-le-Frith, High Peak, SK23 0TQ

A helpline number for evacuated residents is available, this is 01629 533190. This number is open between 9am and 10pm.

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