TAXPAYERS in York face a bill of £5 million as the council looks at ways to upgrade its drainage infrastructure in the face of increasing annual floods.

A report set to go before City of York Council next month claims that, on the basis of the £855,000 spent since 2008, an “estimated £5 million will be required to investigate, record and bring up to a satisfactory standard the council’s drainage infrastructure.”

The council's cabinet will now discuss and decide if the new strategy should be put into action, when it meets on December 4. The council said the Surface Water Management Plan (SWMP) will be used to manage flood risk through a partnership approach with Yorkshire Water Services, the Environment Agency, individual land and drain owners and others.

If approved, a review will then be carried out on the council’s highway maintenance service based to ensure flood risk management is taken into account. This will be the subject of a further report.

Coun Dave Merrett, the authority's cabinet member for transport, planning and sustainability, said: “This plan will be a significant step forward to addressing local flood risks more effectively, and follows from the national ‘Pitt review’ of how flood management is addressed.

“Local drainage has been a Cinderella area because of varied ownership and responsibilities, and inadequate record and maintenance. This plan will start to address this.”