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Moves to bolster flood defences in Tadcaster
PLANS are being drawn up to strengthen flood defences in a North Yorkshire town which was thrown into chaos by flooding last September.
The River Wharfe rose so high in Tadcaster that the bridge which provides the only crossing point had to close for several days, amid unfounded fears it had suffered structural damage.
Businessman and former district councillor Brian Percival said that early last month he wrote to North Yorkshire County Council to ask for action to inhibit, if not prevent, future flooding in the town centre.
As a result, he attended a meeting with council representatives, the Environment Agency, a town councillor and a local dental surgery.
He said a series of measures was now being proposed, including cleaning debris from semi-blocked arches under the bridge, the possible installation of a sump on the north side of Bridge Street to take away water escaping through drains and repairs to the broken top of an embankment on the east side of the river.
He said an emergency contact phone number would also be published to ensure pumps were activated promptly and there would be action by Yorkshire Water to prevent fat being discharged into the sewers.
A local community action flooding group was also being set up, he added.
An Environment Agency spokesman said defences and sandbags ensured that only a small number of properties actually flooded last September and steps were planned to further reduce the risk of flooding the next time the river levels rose.
“This summer we will begin to make improvements to the condition of the existing floodbanks and walls, starting downstream of the road bridge and at particular locations elsewhere where seepage was observed,” he said.
“This work will not increase the level of flood protection the defences offer but it will ensure they continue to protect the town from the kind of floods we saw last year. The work is expected to take a few months to complete.
“We are also working with Selby Council’s highways department and Yorkshire Water to look at ways of preventing water from leaking back into the town when the river is high, and exploring ways of how to manage the pumping of surface water from the town into the river during future floods.”