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Pickering Flood Scheme To Start


1:46pm 30th December 2013

More than two years after earlier proposals had to be dropped because of escalating costs, construction work on the long planned flood storage reservoir for Pickering will begin in early January.

The “Slowing the Flow” Partnership Chairman, Jeremy Walker said: “We are delighted that at last we have an affordable scheme and the funds available to build it.  Over the last year we have put together a bigger local funding package which together with some Government grant from DEFRA puts us in a much better financial position.

“At the same time the Environment Agency have worked very hard to design a robust scheme which fully meets the standards required by the Reservoirs Act and which can be built within our budget."

“I am very grateful to many local people and organisations for their support, especially Ryedale Council, North Yorkshire County Council and the Yorkshire Flood and Coastal Committee who have put up most of the money, and to Pickering Town Council who have agreed to help meet the on-going costs of future maintenance.  We have also worked very closely with the North York Moors Railway, whose positive and constructive approach has been a key factor in producing the new design.”

Andrew Scott, Trustee of the NYMR said: “We are very pleased to be working with the Environment  Agency and other partners to reduce flood risk and bring big benefits to residents, businesses and visitors alike.”

The new scheme is designed to hold back over 100,000 cubic metres of flood water in Newtondale at times of peak flow down Pickering Beck.  Whilst it will not prevent all floods – such as the extraordinary events in 2007 – it will greatly improve the standard of protection for Pickering from the current  25% chance of flooding in any one year , to a 4% chance or less. 

The new flood storage scheme is designed to work in combination with the land management measures funded by DEFRA and  the Partnership which have been put in place over the last few years, such as tree planting, woody debris dams, timber bunds, heather bales to block moorland run-off channels, and no burn zones on the moors.

The announcement has been welcomed by Dan Rogerson, Environment Minister, who said: “This scheme will significantly reduce the chance of flooding in the town and give much needed relief to local residents and businesses, helping to build a stronger economy.

“Our investment is part of a £2.3 billion national programme to tackle the risk of flooding and means that more money than ever is being spent to better protect communities like Pickering.”

The total cost of the scheme will be over £2million, once maintenance costs for the next fifty years are factored in.  After more expensive plans had to be dropped it was necessary to produce a new design and ensure every opportunity was taken to reduce costs while maintaining quality.  A key feature of the new plan is to use excavated clay from other projects in North Yorkshire, which will save several hundred thousand pounds in materials costs. 

Jeremy Walker added: “It has taken a long time and several false starts to get to this point.  By undertaking the work over the coming months the Environment Agency aims to avoid disruption to the Railway and to the town’s main tourist season.  It is hoped to complete the project next April, depending always on the weather.”

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