Flood defences given extra £1m to protect hundreds of homes

Flooding in the Leeman Road area of York
Flooding in the Leeman Road area of York
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AN EXTRA £1m is to be invested in defences protecting close to 400 homes and businesses in one of York’s worst flooding blackspots.

Planning permission has been granted to upgrade the Water End scheme by raising the level of the road at Landing Lane, next to the River Ouse.

The project, now worth £4.2m, aims to safeguard the flood-prone Leeman Road area close to the city’s rail station.

The new work will remove the need to install temporary barriers across Landing Lane, which would have had to be manually operated in the event of a flood.

Environment Agency project manager Helen Tattersdale said: “We are delighted planning consent has been granted for this significant improvement to the Water End scheme.

“Work at Landing Lane is just starting and should be finished early next summer.”

The road has been reduced to one lane while the new work is carried out, but the agency said it hoped to keep disruption to a minimum.

The area has a long history of river flooding from the Ouse. Defences were first completed there in the early 1980s following major flooding in 1978 and protected more than 200 properties from further flooding in 1982.

But they were nearly overtopped in 2000 when the river reached record levels and the area was also hit last September and November, when Salisbury Road and Salisbury Terrace had to be closed.

Coun Dave Merrett, cabinet member for transport, planning and sustainability at York Council - which has contributed £1m towards the project - welcomed the extra protection the new work would provide.

“This scheme of work will help to greatly reduce the risk of a recurrence of the pre-1982 floods or the leakages we saw during 2012,” he said.

Many elements of work on the original phase of the scheme are already finished or nearing completion.

Building work on new defences at Cinder Lane is now complete along with two-thirds of a new brick-clad flood wall on a 300m stretch of Water End.

A raised embankment on the James Ashton Playing Field behind Swinerton Avenue and St Barnabas School is set to be finished by the end of December, but temporary fences will remain in place until new grass has grown.

News of the latest work to be carried out comes after the Environment Agency warned of an heightened flood risk across the country this winter.

Persistent rainfall in the second half of October has left the ground sodden, making rainfall more likely to lead to flooding.

Bands of rain have been forecast with the heaviest downpours set to fall on high ground, the agency added.

They will be brought by a strong, westerly jet stream expected to dominate the rest of this month, according to Met Office analysis.

Strong winds could also lead to leaves and branches blocking drains, culverts and rivers, also increasing the risk, according to the agency.

David Rooke, director of flood and coastal risk management, said: “The most important thing that we can all do to protect ourselves from the devastation that flooding can cause is to be prepared – by checking our flood risk on the Environment Agency’s website, signing up to free flood warnings and making a personal flood plan.”

One in six properties in England are at risk of flooding. Last year more than 7,000 were hit but 200,000 were protected by Environment Agency defences.

“Every £1 spent on protecting communities from flooding saves £8 in repairing damage,” said Mr Rooke.

“Over the last three years we have protected an additional 182,000 homes and businesses with new flood defence schemes.”

For more information on how to protect your home and to sign up to the agency’s flood warning service, visit www.environment-agency.gov.uk.