FLOOD defences in York could be improved to protect residents from increased risks posed by climate change.

City of York Council is hoping a new study will be carried out to examine the case for upgrading and enhancing York’s defences for the future, in the light of the increased frequency and severity of extreme weather events.

A bid has been submitted to the Environment Agency and Defra after the Yorkshire Regional Flood and Coastal Committee submitted its draft six-year programme of flood defence work for the period 2015/21 in the region.

A council spokeswoman said that identified within this programme were several schemes to improve defences along the River Ouse and River Foss, such as upgrades to the Foss Barrier pumps, renovation to flood gates and improvements to existing flood banks.

“Within the proposals is a new study to assess improvements to raise the existing River Ouse defences which would protect 3,800 homes,” she said.

“However, even if successful, the bid would require substantial external contributions before any works could proceed.”

Cllr Dave Merrett, Cabinet Member for Environmental Services and York’s member of the regional committee, said: “Whilst York’s flood defences have helped to protect thousands of homes over recent decades, upgrades and further enhancements are going to be required given the adverse changes in weather patterns.”

The agency and Defra will review the proposals towards the end of May and agree an indicative six-year programme by the end of June.

The council has contributed £1 million towards a £4.2 million scheme with the Environment Agency to improve defences for 400 homes and businesses which is set for completion in June.