AN investigation into the recent flooding in Malton and Norton is to be led by North Yorkshire County Council.
It comes as levels on the River Derwent continue to remain high, with Silver Command – set up in civil emergencies – still in operation.
The probe will include a particular focus on the effect of rising groundwater levels –an increasing problem nationally after a series of wetter winters and more intense summer storms.
It will be launched next Thursday and is expected to report back to the North Yorkshire Flood Risk Partnership in March.
The investigation will be carried out in conjunction with a broader review of the flooding which has affected many parts of the county this year. Any lessons will then be used to inform and develop the long-term flood-risk strategy for North Yorkshire.
It will gather information and data from the public as well as all the key organisations, including Yorkshire Water, the Environment Agency and district and borough councils.
It will look at how agencies responded and worked together to manage the flood risk and how the infrastructure coped.
County Councillor Gareth Dadd, North Yorkshire’s executive member for environmental services, said: “An investigation is crucial and hopefully will shed some light on the issues we are dealing with, the things we did right and how we might best respond to any future event. As a nation we are just at the beginning of investigations into the impact of rising groundwater levels, which are likely to become an increasing problem.”
Tony Hemesley, an Old Malton resident and former chairman of Ryedale District Council, said: “The efforts of the Environment Agency and fire service were very well co-ordinated.
“We had seven pumps putting six to seven thousand litres of water a minute back into the river but the river is only 40 per cent of the problem.
“We need a permanent pump from the culvert into the river.
“That means the water could be pumped out before the road flooded.”
Norton resident Howard Keal, whose property was threatened with sewage water, has written to Ofwat and Yorkshire Water on behalf of residents in St Nicholas Street, Derwent Terrace, Brunswick Terrace and Church Street whose homes have repeatedly been subjected to flooding.
He said: “Yorkshire Water is responsible for the Victorian drainage system that allows surface water to combine with sewage. The business is responsible for the investment needed to stop this happening – and we urge Ofwat to step in to make that clear to Yorkshire Water.”
A spokesman for Yorkshire Water said a multi-agency operation involving the council, Environment Agency and emergency services had done everything it could to “protect people from flooding and tackle flooding where it did occur following the heavy and prolonged rainfall across the region”.
“Thanks to the efforts of all involved, hundreds of properties which otherwise would have flooded, didn’t.
“However, clearly there’s still more to do, and as a partnership we’re committed to doing just that.
“Now that we’ve concluded our emergency response, we’re working together to carry out a full and thorough investigation into the causes of flooding in Norton.”