Vital tests ensure city’s flood control HQ
is ready

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essential tests have been carried out on the doors of a key flood barrier protecting a Yorkshire city to make sure its control room stands up to the challenge of winter flooding.

Environmental Agency teams built temporary flood protection around the control room of the Foss Barrier in York, damming off an area which was filled with water to make sure the doors would work under the pressure of a major flood.

In tests that replicated the River Foss overtopping, the seals of each door were tested to ensure they would remain watertight in an emergency.

Glenn Brady at the Environment Agency said: “We regularly perform vital checks and maintenance on the Foss Barrier so it continues to protect the city and people of York.

“Residents of York are urged to check their flood risk and take precautions to protect themselves.

“Even though you may be in a defended area, plans should be made for the possibility of flooding.”

Rising water in the River Ouse can often have a knock-on impact in the River Foss.

A rapid increase in the volume of water in the Ouse can force the Foss back on itself, potentially causing it to overtop its banks.

But the Foss Barrier, a moveable barrier system weighing 16.5 tonnes, isolates the River Foss from the River Ouse, stopping water from surging back upstream and causing flooding.

When the barrier is lowered, the optimum level of water in the Foss is maintained by pumping water around the barrier, directly into the Ouse.

Eight pumps automatically maintain the water level of the River Foss and are capable of pumping 30,000 litres of water per second.

The barrier protects around 2,500 properties.

The tests performed on the Foss Barrier come as the Environment Agency stages a month-long flood awareness campaign.

People can find out if they are at risk from flooding by calling Floodline on 0845 988 1188, or go to www.environment-agency.gov.uk/floodrisk.