THE leader of a Yorkshire council has said it would be “unthinkable” for a flood scheme to be abandoned due to escalating costs which have been unexpectedly placed on his cash-starved authority.
The defence project to protect Pickering in North Yorkshire has been cast into doubt after engineers ordered a re-design of earth embankments.
The Yorkshire Post revealed on Friday that the Environment Agency could pull the plug on the scheme if Ryedale District Council does not stump up an extra £150,000.
But council leader Keith Knaggs has pledged to petition fellow members to ensure that the money is found when they meet on Thursday next week.
He said: “It is unthinkable, in my opinion, not to lift the burden of worry from householders and businesses in Pickering. Thanks to our anticipation of the fact that the public sector spending train was about to hit the buffers, we can provide this money.
“In addition we’ve set aside some money to help householders who are victims of flooding but who will never have fixed flood defences.”
The cost of the scheme, to build earth dams to contain up to 18 million gallons of water from Pickering Beck, is expected to increase after the embankments’ design are having to be revised.
Engineers voiced concerns that the embankments could actually have made major flooding events worse if breached by rising water.
The scheme had been initially expected to cost £950,000 before the re-design was ordered.
The council has already pledged £800,000 with a further £100,000 from the local flood levy and £50,000 from the Environment Agency.