RESIDENTS living close to reservoirs have been sent letters warning them they are at risk of flooding — despite current water levels being very low.

The letters — sent to people in Chapeltown and Edgworth who live close to the Wayoh reservoir — have been branded as over-cautious and a waste of money.

Cllr Colin Rigby, who represents North Turton with Tockholes, said residents should not be worried about the prospect of flooding, after receiving letters from Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council.

He said: “Sending out this letter to residents is a waste of time and money.

"The water levels in the reservoirs mentioned in this letter are not high at all. If you look at Wayoh reservoir, the water levels are probably only about 50 feet.

“I’ve lived in the area for 43 years and I’ve never known of flooding as a result of rising water levels.

“I think what Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council have done is concerned themselves too much with what’s happened in the south of England.”

Rachel Hutchinson, Blackburn with Darwen’s civil contingencies manager, said: “Under current legislation, local authorities are obliged to inform residents of possible flood risks if they live near a large body of water such as a reservoir.

“Residents who have received letters to inform them of this risk need not panic as the possibility of flood or reservoir failure is very low.”

The letters have been sent to residents living close to stretches of water including Fishmoor, Jack’s Key, Belmont, Delph, Entwistle, and Wayoh.

Residents were told in the letter that any properties near the reservoirs “could possibly be flooded” — but it said the likelihood of dam failure was “extremely low”.

It goes on to say that no one in the UK has died as a result of dam failure since the 1920s.

A spokesman for United Utilities said: “There’s no need for concern. This is an information exercise the council is required to carry out to make people living near certain reservoirs aware of what to do if there were any serious problems with the dam.

“It’s extremely unlikely that anything will ever happen. The dam is as safe as it’s always been.

"It’s just that certain reservoirs, because of their location close to homes, have extra plans in place so that emergency services respond quickly if anything should happen.

“That includes warning and informing local people, which is why people nearby have had this letter.”

Residents who wish to speak to someone about the letter or flood risk can contact Blackburn with Darwen Council’s civil contingencies team on 01254 585641.