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Pickering Flood Work Continues


1:21pm 16th August 2011

Members of the Partnership Project Board which is overseeing work to help reduce the risk of flooding to Pickering has met to review progress and discuss future options.

The Slowing the Flow Partnership Project Board held a meeting yesterday (15th August 2011) to review a range of options following the announcement in June that its plans for the construction of a large flood storage area had increased in cost as a result of having to meet standards prescribed by guidance on the Reservoirs Act.

At the meeting, the board agreed that the increase in costs meant that original flood storage plan could not proceed in the foreseeable future. However partners were keen to continue with land management improvements to reduce flood risk and to explore other possibilities.

As a result the Partnership Board decided to

  • explore the scope for creating smaller flood storage areas rather than large reservoirs to hold the flood water, if this would avoid the need for the cost involved in meeting the requirements of a large reservoir. This would however mean having to deal with significant planning and environmental challenges.
  •  consider options to increase the funding available to make individual properties more resistant to flooding by using air brick covers, door barriers etc. 
  • continue with further land management work such as constructing additional woody debris dams and tree planting, as well as trialling mini flood storage areas on Levisham Beck.

Board chairman Jeremy Walker said:

”All partners are very disappointed that the requirements of the Reservoirs Act have made our original flood storage plans unaffordable. We hope that the guidance may change as a result of the review of these documents, but we have to be realistic that it may not. We therefore want to explore all other means of reducing flood risk, as well as extend the work that has already been done to help slow down flows in the catchment.

“There are many difficulties in this work but we are determined to carry on making improvements that are practicable and affordable.”

The project has already succeeded in constructing some 150 woody debris dams, and the blocking up of problem drains on moorland above Pickering. A total of 13 hectares of farm woodland have been planted on land where there is a risk of rapid run-off of flood water, and a further 4.1 hectares of new woodland have been planted. A total of 370 metres of banksides have also been restored to reduce erosion and the run-off of flood water. The impact of these measures will be monitored and evaluated as part of the ongoing project.

The Slowing the Flow Project has a number of  key partners including the Forestry Commission, Forest Research, Natural England, North York Moors National Park, Ryedale District Council Pickering Town Council, Sinnington Parish Council, the Environment Agency, North Yorkshire County Council and North York Moors Railway amongst others.

The Partnership Board agreed to meet again in early October to review progress.

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