1:22pm 5th February 2013
The MP for Thirsk and Malton Anne McIntosh has today sought Government help to make up the shortfall in funding for the Pickering Slow the Flow Project.
Anne McIntosh said "Already the project is bringing significant benefits to the town of Pickering. The building of mini-dams, the use of woody debris, the planting of trees and other such methods, working with nature has retained sufficient water to prevent any recent flooding to Pickering, in spite of significant rainfall since September.
"However, the main obstacle to completing the project, with the temporary storage of water in a reservoir, remains with a shortfall in funding of about £500,000. Ryedale District Council has come up trumps with a contribution of almost £1 million and North Yorkshire County Council has contributed £300,000.
"I believe there is a compelling case for the Government to make a contribution to ensure the project proceeds. There is a clear natural interest as set out in the Government's Natural Environment White Paper and indeed the Water White Paper and Draft Water Bill which encourage such schemes to work more closely with nature in building flood defence measures.. The Government is watching the Pickering Pilot Project closely too, as if it
is successful, similar schemes can be rolled out across the country.
"Also, the longer the Government delays bringing forward its reservoir safety guidance, which was due in 2012, the higher the cost of the Pickering Scheme will be. The reason for the original delay was because the civil engineer in charge refused to sign off the project as it caused a miniscule increased risk of flooding to some ten properties downstream.
"This advice is severely overdue and the delay could cause the cost of the scheme to escalate. Therefore I believe it is in the Government's interest for this project to proceed and sooner rather than later.
“I have therefore today written to Owen Paterson, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to see if there are any Government funds to plug the gap in spending, so allowing the project to proceed.”