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Flood defences in York dealt a blow.


12:30pm 14th January 2011
(Updated 12:56pm 14th January 2011)

The Government’s 26% cut in the Environment Agency’s capital budget for flood risk management means that flood defences for York and Thirsk which were going to be built in 2011-12 have been axed.

Hugh Bayley, MP for York Central, has been campaigning for improvements to the flood defences for York’s Leeman Road and Water End areas ever since the big flood in 2000, when hundreds of soldiers and local residents worked through the night to build a sandbag wall on top of the existing, but inadequate, flood defences to save a thousand homes from being flooded out.  A year ago, the Labour government pressed the Environment Agency to include the new defences for the area in its capital programme for 2011-12 and the Environment Agency agreed and started public consultation on its plans.

Yesterday the Environment Agency phoned Hugh Bayley MP to tell him the bad news that all new flood defence schemes have been stopped indefinitely as a result of the Government’s spending cuts.  Schemes which have already been started will be completed, but this means there is no money left for new schemes, so work at Water End and in Thirsk will no longer go ahead.

Hugh Bayley MP says:

“The risk of flooding is getting worse year by year.  My constituents living in the Leeman Road area have already spent ten years living in fear of another big flood like the one we had in 2000 which came so close to destroying their homes.  It is dangerous and false economy to cut funding for flood defences, which is likely to cost the public much more in the long run.”

 “When Labour was in power, we more than doubled funding for flood risk management from £249 million in 2000/01 to £514 million in 2008/09.  Because of the bigger budget, it became possible to get the Leeman Road defences into the programme and it is incredibly depressing to see all the design work being thrown away and the scheme itself being delayed indefinitely.”

“As soon as I heard the bad news from the Environment Agency, I tabled some Parliamentary Questions to find out when the Government now intend the Leeman Road and Water End scheme to go ahead.”

 “Later this month, the Yorkshire Regional Flood Defence Committee will meet to discuss the capital programme.  Councillor Andrew Waller represents York on the committee and I hope he will be able to persuade the Environment Agency to think again and set a firm date for starting work on Leeman Road’s defences.” 

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