Water bosses are accused of cover-up over Whaley Bridge dam as they release ...

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A government report into the partial collapse of the Toddbrook Reservoir dam - which led to the evacuation of the nearby village of Whaley Bridge - has been released so heavily redacted that entire pages are nothing but swathes of black ink.

The Canal and River Trust cited concerns over national security for the black-wash of its report but was ridiculed by residents and challenged by media organisations.

On August 1, 1,500 residents of Whaley Bridge in Derbyshire were ordered to leave their homes amid fears the reservoir would burst and flood the village.

Emergency service workers scrambled to pump out 300 million gallons of water after a wall around the reservoir was damaged and a huge hole appeared in it, threatening to wipe out the Peak District village.

Residents, who had to spend almost a week away from home, furiously pointed out they had previously raised concerns about the upkeep of the dam, which had been photographed with vegetation sprouting from the concrete of the spillway.

They, along with the BBC and other media outlets, demanded to see a report into the condition of the dam, completed following an inspection by the Canal and River Trust in November 2018, and by an independent inspecting engineer.

Large sections of the copies received by the media were completely blacked out.

An RAF Chinook helicopter flying in sandbags to try and stop any further collapse of the dam at Toddbrook reservoir which threatened the village of Whaley Bridge in August this year

An RAF Chinook helicopter flying in sandbags to try and stop any further collapse of the dam at Toddbrook reservoir which threatened the village of Whaley Bridge in August this year

The Canal and River Trust report, written following a 2018 inspection, has been released so heavily redacted as to be almost meaningless

The Canal and River Trust report

The Canal and River Trust report

Residents slammed the 'heavy handed' approach and speculated the trust was trying to escape scrutiny and criticism

Matthew Forrest, who has been among a group of residents to have called for a public inquiry and criminal investigation, told the BBC the redactions seemed 'ludicrously heavy-handed'.

He said: 'The population of Whaley Bridge had very little confidence in the Canal and River Trust as things stood after the near disaster in August that could have potentially killed thousands of people.

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