Proposed flood defences in York "would cost too much", meeting hears

York Central MP Hugh Bayley speaks at a public meeting about flood defences in the city-centre

York Central MP Hugh Bayley speaks at a public meeting about flood defences in the city-centre

First published in News
Last updated
by , Court reporter

PROTECTING homes and businesses that flood every year in the centre of York would cost too much, the Environment Agency told a public meeting.

Residents and business owners and staff who live or work near or on the riverfront from Ouse Bridge to Skeldergate Bridge told agency staff how frequent flooding affected them and their livelihoods.

They wanted to know what could be done to prevent foul and flood water coming into their homes and businesses and what could prevent floods closing their firms for up to several months at a time.

But although the agency has calculated that flood levels have risen over decades in the centre of York, there are no plans to build flood defences between the two bridges.

Mark Fuller, of the agency's assets performance team, told the meeting protecting their homes and businesses would cost millions of pounds and wouldn't be cost effective according to the Government formula used to decide which areas get flood defences.

"The area is undefended because it is difficult to protect," he said.

Local resident Chris Cook said similar things had been said to Somerset Level residents before this Spring's floods but Somerset rivers were now being dredged as residents had long wanted.

"It would appear those who shout the loudest and who get the media attention get the protection," he said. "I think we should start to become more robust."

He organised a 40-name petition which led to the area's MP Hugh Bayley organising the meeting between agency staff and residents and businessmen and women at The Lowther on the riverfront.

One attender suggested demolishing the Grade II listed homes along Tower Place and rebuilding them much higher so they wouldn't flood.

Residents were disappointed that a city council flood risk engineer did not attend, as had been expected, and Mr Bayley said he would investigate why. The Press has since been told that council officers are not attending public meetings that the council deems political until after the European elections.

Mr Bayley suggested a working group of the local community, the agency, the council and Yorkshire Water look at ways of helping the residents and business people in the area. He was also willing to ask a parliamentary question about changing the flood defence cost formula so it took more account of flood effects on businesses.

Comments (20)

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10:06am Fri 25 Apr 14

Mr & Mrs Anonymous says...

Any reason why the Ouse cannot be dredged? Surely it would be the cheapest option.
Any reason why the Ouse cannot be dredged? Surely it would be the cheapest option. Mr & Mrs Anonymous
  • Score: 4

10:21am Fri 25 Apr 14

bolero says...

Aw! Come on, there are much more important things to spend money on. Like cycle paths that can't be used until more money is spent, 20mph zones that can't be controlled, Kings Square and Exhibition Square. Prorities, priorities. Oh! Never heard of them?
Aw! Come on, there are much more important things to spend money on. Like cycle paths that can't be used until more money is spent, 20mph zones that can't be controlled, Kings Square and Exhibition Square. Prorities, priorities. Oh! Never heard of them? bolero
  • Score: -5

10:31am Fri 25 Apr 14

BL2 says...

Yet still they plan to biuld on Flood Plains which will only make things worse, although I expect a lot of the problems will be felt more downstream. Since this isn't in York, the council don't care (see the A19 for that)!
Yet still they plan to biuld on Flood Plains which will only make things worse, although I expect a lot of the problems will be felt more downstream. Since this isn't in York, the council don't care (see the A19 for that)! BL2
  • Score: 17

10:52am Fri 25 Apr 14

The Great Buda says...

Mr & Mrs Anonymous wrote:
Any reason why the Ouse cannot be dredged? Surely it would be the cheapest option.
The main reason is that dredging is pointless.
[quote][p][bold]Mr & Mrs Anonymous[/bold] wrote: Any reason why the Ouse cannot be dredged? Surely it would be the cheapest option.[/p][/quote]The main reason is that dredging is pointless. The Great Buda
  • Score: 6

11:19am Fri 25 Apr 14

oldgoat says...

So the cost of building the defences would outweigh the cost of insurance payouts after the next floods, the cost of jobs lost and businesses closed when they can't afford to keep going afterwards?

This is what makes me laugh when folks complain about the spending of taxes on things. All the money from taxes ends up back in the private sector anyway, when councils pay someone to do something or supply something to them!
So the cost of building the defences would outweigh the cost of insurance payouts after the next floods, the cost of jobs lost and businesses closed when they can't afford to keep going afterwards? This is what makes me laugh when folks complain about the spending of taxes on things. All the money from taxes ends up back in the private sector anyway, when councils pay someone to do something or supply something to them! oldgoat
  • Score: 4

11:44am Fri 25 Apr 14

Dave Ruddock says...

Bring back the "Reklaw" or Reklaw2, and dredge from Upper Popelton to Selby. The problem started years ago when peet bogging on the moors was/is rife. As for Council officials, thats a lame excuse.. Also there is the other river "The River Foss"
Bring back the "Reklaw" or Reklaw2, and dredge from Upper Popelton to Selby. The problem started years ago when peet bogging on the moors was/is rife. As for Council officials, thats a lame excuse.. Also there is the other river "The River Foss" Dave Ruddock
  • Score: 2

11:57am Fri 25 Apr 14

emen says...

I very much doubt that any affected business owner or householder were unaware of the potential risk of being located next to a river that has been known to regularly burst it's banks for centuries. I live next to a river and am fully aware that one day I might well suffer but, to me, the advantages far outweigh the potential risks. There is no way I'd expect many thousands of pounds of other peoples money to be spent just to guarantee I never get flooded out.

Riverside businesses such as bars and restaurants benefit enormously from their location when the river is at normal levels so the pros and cons probably even themselves out.
I very much doubt that any affected business owner or householder were unaware of the potential risk of being located next to a river that has been known to regularly burst it's banks for centuries. I live next to a river and am fully aware that one day I might well suffer but, to me, the advantages far outweigh the potential risks. There is no way I'd expect many thousands of pounds of other peoples money to be spent just to guarantee I never get flooded out. Riverside businesses such as bars and restaurants benefit enormously from their location when the river is at normal levels so the pros and cons probably even themselves out. emen
  • Score: 18

12:14pm Fri 25 Apr 14

weeping_angel says...

Did someone swap Hugh Bayley's shampoo for superglue?
Did someone swap Hugh Bayley's shampoo for superglue? weeping_angel
  • Score: -22

12:29pm Fri 25 Apr 14

Fat Harry says...

bolero wrote:
Aw! Come on, there are much more important things to spend money on. Like cycle paths that can't be used until more money is spent, 20mph zones that can't be controlled, Kings Square and Exhibition Square. Prorities, priorities. Oh! Never heard of them?
Yes, the amount of money the Environment Agency has spent on King's Square is nothing short of a scandal.
[quote][p][bold]bolero[/bold] wrote: Aw! Come on, there are much more important things to spend money on. Like cycle paths that can't be used until more money is spent, 20mph zones that can't be controlled, Kings Square and Exhibition Square. Prorities, priorities. Oh! Never heard of them?[/p][/quote]Yes, the amount of money the Environment Agency has spent on King's Square is nothing short of a scandal. Fat Harry
  • Score: 13

1:20pm Fri 25 Apr 14

Archiebold the 1st says...

surly this shoudl have a caption comp??

Mine is;

"Look everyone i'm telling you... when it rains it comes down like 'splash' all over your head."
surly this shoudl have a caption comp?? Mine is; "Look everyone i'm telling you... when it rains it comes down like 'splash' all over your head." Archiebold the 1st
  • Score: -25

1:30pm Fri 25 Apr 14

Ignatius Lumpopo says...

Dredging won't help because the water is held back as it leaves York. Why not get rid of Naburn Lock?
Dredging won't help because the water is held back as it leaves York. Why not get rid of Naburn Lock? Ignatius Lumpopo
  • Score: 2

1:38pm Fri 25 Apr 14

Fat Harry says...

Ignatius Lumpopo wrote:
Dredging won't help because the water is held back as it leaves York. Why not get rid of Naburn Lock?
Because without Naburn Lock, the Ouse would be tidal as far as York, potentially making the water/flood levels even less controllable than they are at present.
[quote][p][bold]Ignatius Lumpopo[/bold] wrote: Dredging won't help because the water is held back as it leaves York. Why not get rid of Naburn Lock?[/p][/quote]Because without Naburn Lock, the Ouse would be tidal as far as York, potentially making the water/flood levels even less controllable than they are at present. Fat Harry
  • Score: 8

1:42pm Fri 25 Apr 14

viking99 says...

flood defences should be used with extreme care in some places and I know off one that has flood defences upstream and down stream and has caused problems for those people in the middle with flooded roads trapping people as the river spills over onto low lying roads and they have no way round

when flood defences are built all that is being done is move the problem from my backyard to someone else's.
STOP BUILDING ON FLOOD PLAINS !!!!
flood defences should be used with extreme care in some places and I know off one that has flood defences upstream and down stream and has caused problems for those people in the middle with flooded roads trapping people as the river spills over onto low lying roads and they have no way round when flood defences are built all that is being done is move the problem from my backyard to someone else's. STOP BUILDING ON FLOOD PLAINS !!!! viking99
  • Score: 13

3:07pm Fri 25 Apr 14

Ignatius Lumpopo says...

Fat Harry wrote:
Ignatius Lumpopo wrote:
Dredging won't help because the water is held back as it leaves York. Why not get rid of Naburn Lock?
Because without Naburn Lock, the Ouse would be tidal as far as York, potentially making the water/flood levels even less controllable than they are at present.
I was being flippant actually, but does the incoming tide over top Naburn Lock? And I take your point about levels being uncontrollable, but with a low-tide twice a day, won't that help clear a lot of the out-bound water? (What we need here is a diagram...).
[quote][p][bold]Fat Harry[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Ignatius Lumpopo[/bold] wrote: Dredging won't help because the water is held back as it leaves York. Why not get rid of Naburn Lock?[/p][/quote]Because without Naburn Lock, the Ouse would be tidal as far as York, potentially making the water/flood levels even less controllable than they are at present.[/p][/quote]I was being flippant actually, but does the incoming tide over top Naburn Lock? And I take your point about levels being uncontrollable, but with a low-tide twice a day, won't that help clear a lot of the out-bound water? (What we need here is a diagram...). Ignatius Lumpopo
  • Score: 3

3:48pm Fri 25 Apr 14

Fat Harry says...

Ignatius Lumpopo wrote:
Fat Harry wrote:
Ignatius Lumpopo wrote: Dredging won't help because the water is held back as it leaves York. Why not get rid of Naburn Lock?
Because without Naburn Lock, the Ouse would be tidal as far as York, potentially making the water/flood levels even less controllable than they are at present.
I was being flippant actually, but does the incoming tide over top Naburn Lock? And I take your point about levels being uncontrollable, but with a low-tide twice a day, won't that help clear a lot of the out-bound water? (What we need here is a diagram...).
Sorry I missed the flippancy, which is pretty rich coming from me.

I don't know a huge amount about the lock other than that we were taught at school that the Ouse was tidal as far as York until the lock was built in the eighteenth century. From that I inferred that its removal would mean we'd get tides in York again, meaning a reduced ability to manage flooding, whether the overall level was higher or lower at any given time.
[quote][p][bold]Ignatius Lumpopo[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Fat Harry[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Ignatius Lumpopo[/bold] wrote: Dredging won't help because the water is held back as it leaves York. Why not get rid of Naburn Lock?[/p][/quote]Because without Naburn Lock, the Ouse would be tidal as far as York, potentially making the water/flood levels even less controllable than they are at present.[/p][/quote]I was being flippant actually, but does the incoming tide over top Naburn Lock? And I take your point about levels being uncontrollable, but with a low-tide twice a day, won't that help clear a lot of the out-bound water? (What we need here is a diagram...).[/p][/quote]Sorry I missed the flippancy, which is pretty rich coming from me. I don't know a huge amount about the lock other than that we were taught at school that the Ouse was tidal as far as York until the lock was built in the eighteenth century. From that I inferred that its removal would mean we'd get tides in York again, meaning a reduced ability to manage flooding, whether the overall level was higher or lower at any given time. Fat Harry
  • Score: 3

5:33pm Fri 25 Apr 14

CHISSY1 says...

I would imagine that if Bull Lane were flooding it would not cost ,
I would imagine that if Bull Lane were flooding it would not cost , CHISSY1
  • Score: -29

5:34pm Fri 25 Apr 14

eeoodares says...

The Great Buda wrote:
Mr & Mrs Anonymous wrote:
Any reason why the Ouse cannot be dredged? Surely it would be the cheapest option.
The main reason is that dredging is pointless.
Pointless, yet they did it for years to control flooding. I believe they have started again in parts of the country.
I am not an expert in the field, but it would seem sessile that increasing the capacity and flow of water would enable more water to be moved faster out of the City?
[quote][p][bold]The Great Buda[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Mr & Mrs Anonymous[/bold] wrote: Any reason why the Ouse cannot be dredged? Surely it would be the cheapest option.[/p][/quote]The main reason is that dredging is pointless.[/p][/quote]Pointless, yet they did it for years to control flooding. I believe they have started again in parts of the country. I am not an expert in the field, but it would seem sessile that increasing the capacity and flow of water would enable more water to be moved faster out of the City? eeoodares
  • Score: 3

5:39pm Fri 25 Apr 14

Dave Ruddock says...

"Jokingly" build a 20 foot high wall from outer ring road Poppleton (North of York) to the Marina( South of York) with totally no access to river, problem sorted

THIS IS A JOKE THIS IS NOT MENT TO BE TAKEN SERIOUS
"Jokingly" build a 20 foot high wall from outer ring road Poppleton (North of York) to the Marina( South of York) with totally no access to river, problem sorted THIS IS A JOKE THIS IS NOT MENT TO BE TAKEN SERIOUS Dave Ruddock
  • Score: 0

9:09pm Fri 25 Apr 14

pedalling paul says...

Interesting that mankind and the lower orders have been trumping into the atmosphere for millennia, without depleting the ozone layer or causing global warming and consequential severe weather events. But as soon as the infernal combustion engine appeared, things went rapidly downhill.
Strange that few bat an eyelid at the number of vehicles being driven around the planet. But If I f****d in public, I'd be rapidly condemned.
Have we got our priorities wrong somewhere....?
Interesting that mankind and the lower orders have been trumping into the atmosphere for millennia, without depleting the ozone layer or causing global warming and consequential severe weather events. But as soon as the infernal combustion engine appeared, things went rapidly downhill. Strange that few bat an eyelid at the number of vehicles being driven around the planet. But If I f****d in public, I'd be rapidly condemned. Have we got our priorities wrong somewhere....? pedalling paul
  • Score: 26

11:05pm Fri 25 Apr 14

bolero says...

pedalling paul wrote:
Interesting that mankind and the lower orders have been trumping into the atmosphere for millennia, without depleting the ozone layer or causing global warming and consequential severe weather events. But as soon as the infernal combustion engine appeared, things went rapidly downhill.
Strange that few bat an eyelid at the number of vehicles being driven around the planet. But If I f****d in public, I'd be rapidly condemned.
Have we got our priorities wrong somewhere....?
Only if you were still on your bike and stopped at a red light.
[quote][p][bold]pedalling paul [/bold] wrote: Interesting that mankind and the lower orders have been trumping into the atmosphere for millennia, without depleting the ozone layer or causing global warming and consequential severe weather events. But as soon as the infernal combustion engine appeared, things went rapidly downhill. Strange that few bat an eyelid at the number of vehicles being driven around the planet. But If I f****d in public, I'd be rapidly condemned. Have we got our priorities wrong somewhere....?[/p][/quote]Only if you were still on your bike and stopped at a red light. bolero
  • Score: -27

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