Crucial York flooding report delayed four times

Flooding in Fulford Road in 2012

Flooding in Fulford Road in 2012

First published in News
Last updated
York Press: Photograph of the Author by , News editor

A CRUCIAL report aimed at tackling York's flood management crisis is due to finally be published this month, a year after it was first due.

City leaders agreed in December 2012 to commission a Local Flood Risk Management Strategy, following a damning report that said generations of under-investment and neglect had left York's drains unable to cope with even minor floods.

The report, on surface water problems, said it would cost £5 million to bring the city's drains up to standard, but a separate strategy on flood management has now been postponed four times.

>> Read the 2012 council report here (item 68)

City of York Council says the draft is now complete, and officials plan to present it to cabinet on September 2. The report should be published in late August, but although the council says many of the decisions made in 2012 have been acted on, the formal partnership and community involvement promised then have not been established.

Opposition councillors say York's flooding problems have been exacerbated by cuts to gully-cleaning. In 2011/12, the council carried out 39,000 cleans, but this fell to 20,664 in 2012/13 and 2013/14.

Green councillor Andy D'Agorne said: "I am concerned that casual observation from my riding around York shows increasing numbers of drain-pots blocked, increasing the risk of surface water flooding events.

"As I understand it one of cuts has been to abandon the programme of 'regular' annual gully clearing with only 'reactive' clearing taking place in response to reports of blocked drains.

"That seems to be a very high risk approach given the increasing incidence of intense summer rainfall."

Cllr Ann Reid, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for environmental services, said: "Last autumn and winter particularly there were incidents of flooding on local roads as water was not draining away properly. Regular cleaning of the road gullies helps stop this by ensuring that they efficiently drain water off the road surface and minimise the pressure on the drains. This is not happening due to Labour’s cuts."

Drainage problems have led to disruption and large pools forming in recent years in much of York, including Fulford, Badger Hill and the Leeman Road area.

A Labour spokesperson said: "There’s been long running issues with the capacity of some drains, especially when we have large amounts of rainfall in a short space of time, just as we have had recently. "However nobody can deny large scale funding cuts to councils from the Conservative Liberal Democrat Government is having an impact on public services in York or across the country.

“It is important the Local Flood Risk Management Strategy is not rushed and helps address the issues the public and councillors are raising in an era of less Government funding.”

As part of its decision in 2012, the cabinet agreed a formal partnership would be formed to prepare the Local Flood Risk Management Strategy, including "appropriate community involvement", but this has yet to happen.

Steve Wragg, council flood risk manager, said the council was working with other organisations such as the Environment Agency, Yorkshire Water and internal drainage boards and said there would be consultation later this year, after September's meeting, to ensure the strategy reflected the public's "expectations and aspirations".

He said liaison between the highways and flood risk management teams meant problems could be identified early and said the flood risk team had received rolling funding since the 2012 cabinet meeting to fund proactive investigations to find problems.

The report to cabinet next month was first due between June and October last year, but was postponed until the November, then December, then January 2014.

Comments (17)

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6:08pm Thu 7 Aug 14

wildthing666 says...

How much will it cost by the time they finally decide to get on with it.
How much will it cost by the time they finally decide to get on with it. wildthing666
  • Score: 5

6:16pm Thu 7 Aug 14

piaggio1 says...

Well..get back the £500 thousand. from the landlord semelyn.... thats a start...
Well..get back the £500 thousand. from the landlord semelyn.... thats a start... piaggio1
  • Score: 3

6:16pm Thu 7 Aug 14

nottoooldtocare says...

As with most things, if you get the basics right then the rest generally falls into place. If COYC don't think there is anything to be gained by having clean drains that work, you have to wonder what they think was the logic behind them when they were put in place all those years ago. I might be wrong, but you shouldn't need engineers and two years of strategic thinking to work this out, should you?
As with most things, if you get the basics right then the rest generally falls into place. If COYC don't think there is anything to be gained by having clean drains that work, you have to wonder what they think was the logic behind them when they were put in place all those years ago. I might be wrong, but you shouldn't need engineers and two years of strategic thinking to work this out, should you? nottoooldtocare
  • Score: 22

6:48pm Thu 7 Aug 14

petesmuk says...

Oxford University researchers have discovered the heaviest chemical element yet known to science. Governmentium (Symbol=Gv). This element has 1 neutron, 12 assistant neutrons, 75 deputy neutrons, and 224 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 312.

These 312 particles are held together by forces called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called pillocks.

Since Governmentium has no electrons, it is inert. However, it can be detected as it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact. A minute amount of Governmentium causes one reaction to take over four days to complete when it would normally take less than a second. Governmentium has a normal half-life of three years; it does not decay, but instead undergoes a reorganization in which a portion of the assistant neutrons and deputy neutrons exchange places.

In fact, Governmentium's mass will actually increase over time, since each reorganization will cause some morons to become neutrons, forming isodopes.

When catalyzed with money, Governmentium becomes Administratium (Symbol=Ad), an element which radiates just as much energy as Governmentium since it has half as many pillocks but twice as many morons.
Oxford University researchers have discovered the heaviest chemical element yet known to science. Governmentium (Symbol=Gv). This element has 1 neutron, 12 assistant neutrons, 75 deputy neutrons, and 224 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 312. These 312 particles are held together by forces called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called pillocks. Since Governmentium has no electrons, it is inert. However, it can be detected as it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact. A minute amount of Governmentium causes one reaction to take over four days to complete when it would normally take less than a second. Governmentium has a normal half-life of three years; it does not decay, but instead undergoes a reorganization in which a portion of the assistant neutrons and deputy neutrons exchange places. In fact, Governmentium's mass will actually increase over time, since each reorganization will cause some morons to become neutrons, forming isodopes. When catalyzed with money, Governmentium becomes Administratium (Symbol=Ad), an element which radiates just as much energy as Governmentium since it has half as many pillocks but twice as many morons. petesmuk
  • Score: 45

9:42pm Thu 7 Aug 14

Martin true Viking says...

Petesmuk bang on. When I built my extension part if my planning was to create off road parking on other words get rid of my front garden. This is the case with all planning permissions. I expressed concern to the council that this would mean that rainwater usually drained through my garden would be diverted into drainage systems and the drains were not designed for this much water. I spent months explaining this to the 14 year old planning moron who told me I had no option. Thousands of houses around York have done this and it all now goes into the already overloaded drainage system. When will these people ever listen and learn that usually they are wrong and the reason they work for the council is because they are not fit for private industry.
Petesmuk bang on. When I built my extension part if my planning was to create off road parking on other words get rid of my front garden. This is the case with all planning permissions. I expressed concern to the council that this would mean that rainwater usually drained through my garden would be diverted into drainage systems and the drains were not designed for this much water. I spent months explaining this to the 14 year old planning moron who told me I had no option. Thousands of houses around York have done this and it all now goes into the already overloaded drainage system. When will these people ever listen and learn that usually they are wrong and the reason they work for the council is because they are not fit for private industry. Martin true Viking
  • Score: 15

10:08pm Thu 7 Aug 14

Martin true Viking says...

Good to see a labour spokes person blaming the cuts on the current government. Short memory though it was the labour government that wasted all the money sold the remaining state owned industry and the gold reserve just before the price rocketed (good job I'm not a synic or there may be a comment to add on as to who they sold the gold to ) at a time when we were more prosperous than when Sir Francis was stealing South American gold from the Spanish which has led to the current financial meltdown.
Good to see a labour spokes person blaming the cuts on the current government. Short memory though it was the labour government that wasted all the money sold the remaining state owned industry and the gold reserve just before the price rocketed (good job I'm not a synic or there may be a comment to add on as to who they sold the gold to ) at a time when we were more prosperous than when Sir Francis was stealing South American gold from the Spanish which has led to the current financial meltdown. Martin true Viking
  • Score: 9

10:27pm Thu 7 Aug 14

piaggio1 says...

Ahh .but martin......it.s only the english/eglisce.whoh
ave to be appologetic for the sin.s? Of their fathers ( well it is to the liebour bunch ) .beleive me ...they hate us...no i mean they really do HATE us.
Ahh .but martin......it.s only the english/eglisce.whoh ave to be appologetic for the sin.s? Of their fathers ( well it is to the liebour bunch ) .beleive me ...they hate us...no i mean they really do HATE us. piaggio1
  • Score: -12

1:19am Fri 8 Aug 14

York1900 says...

Over the years gully-cleaning as gone from a monthly cycle of gully-cleaning to when there is a problem .
This started before 2010 and was not noticed as council reduced front line staff so the Liberal Democrats have nothing to shout about on gully-cleaning
They are all guilty of failing the people of York on gully-cleaning
Over the years gully-cleaning as gone from a monthly cycle of gully-cleaning to when there is a problem . This started before 2010 and was not noticed as council reduced front line staff so the Liberal Democrats have nothing to shout about on gully-cleaning They are all guilty of failing the people of York on gully-cleaning York1900
  • Score: 11

9:03am Fri 8 Aug 14

trailblazer says...

York Council are wanting to build but never have a long term maintenance plan to support the build. They build cycle paths but have no plan to cut back undergrowth thus the cycle path become overgrown and not suitable for purpose. Maintenance should always have priority to maintain the quality of the build.
York Council are wanting to build but never have a long term maintenance plan to support the build. They build cycle paths but have no plan to cut back undergrowth thus the cycle path become overgrown and not suitable for purpose. Maintenance should always have priority to maintain the quality of the build. trailblazer
  • Score: 6

9:15am Fri 8 Aug 14

CommonSense!! says...

York council has enough money to waste on closing Lendal Bridge, unwanted and unwarranted speed limit decreases, ridiculous vanity projects, the massive waste of money that is Fairtrade and yet can't afford the simple basic provision of ensuring the drains are clear.

Bunch of incompetent clowns.
York council has enough money to waste on closing Lendal Bridge, unwanted and unwarranted speed limit decreases, ridiculous vanity projects, the massive waste of money that is Fairtrade and yet can't afford the simple basic provision of ensuring the drains are clear. Bunch of incompetent clowns. CommonSense!!
  • Score: 12

11:17am Fri 8 Aug 14

Kevin Turvey says...

'CommonSense!! says...

Bunch of incompetent clowns.'


Except clowns are meant to be funny, this lot are tragicly incompetent, at our expense unfortunatly!

To be fair that council guy who came to actually empty my Septic tank was a gent, efficent, polite, seemed open and honest and cleaned up after himself.
Totally opposite to his masters!
'CommonSense!! says... Bunch of incompetent clowns.' Except clowns are meant to be funny, this lot are tragicly incompetent, at our expense unfortunatly! To be fair that council guy who came to actually empty my Septic tank was a gent, efficent, polite, seemed open and honest and cleaned up after himself. Totally opposite to his masters! Kevin Turvey
  • Score: 7

11:32am Fri 8 Aug 14

Dave Ruddock says...

Personally think its time the whole of the "Elected" members of the Council take a very big pay cut, and rethink the outsiders they employ at a cheaper wage, As for the story this is why there should be a City of York corporation as this elected process is totally inept, nothing can be achieved by any council if there is this "Years in Office" and the next lot reverse what the other lot did. As the above shows , nothing gets done.
Personally think its time the whole of the "Elected" members of the Council take a very big pay cut, and rethink the outsiders they employ at a cheaper wage, As for the story this is why there should be a City of York corporation as this elected process is totally inept, nothing can be achieved by any council if there is this "Years in Office" and the next lot reverse what the other lot did. As the above shows , nothing gets done. Dave Ruddock
  • Score: 2

12:51pm Fri 8 Aug 14

greenmonkey says...

York1900 wrote:
Over the years gully-cleaning as gone from a monthly cycle of gully-cleaning to when there is a problem .
This started before 2010 and was not noticed as council reduced front line staff so the Liberal Democrats have nothing to shout about on gully-cleaning
They are all guilty of failing the people of York on gully-cleaning
Short term savings on clearing gullies and vegetation will only lead to bigger costs in the long run. We shouldnt wait until a sewer collapses (such as happened a couple of years ago under Fishergate) before maintenance work - Hopefully this will be addressed by the long awaited plan that follows legislation brought in following the Pitt report into the 2007 floods. More intense rainfall means that new developments should have bigger drains to manage flash floodwater as well as swales, rainwater recycling, green roofs etc to reduce runoff. Much of York has clay soils anyway as well as increased amounts of tarmac for car parks etc
[quote][p][bold]York1900[/bold] wrote: Over the years gully-cleaning as gone from a monthly cycle of gully-cleaning to when there is a problem . This started before 2010 and was not noticed as council reduced front line staff so the Liberal Democrats have nothing to shout about on gully-cleaning They are all guilty of failing the people of York on gully-cleaning[/p][/quote]Short term savings on clearing gullies and vegetation will only lead to bigger costs in the long run. We shouldnt wait until a sewer collapses (such as happened a couple of years ago under Fishergate) before maintenance work - Hopefully this will be addressed by the long awaited plan that follows legislation brought in following the Pitt report into the 2007 floods. More intense rainfall means that new developments should have bigger drains to manage flash floodwater as well as swales, rainwater recycling, green roofs etc to reduce runoff. Much of York has clay soils anyway as well as increased amounts of tarmac for car parks etc greenmonkey
  • Score: -10

3:19pm Fri 8 Aug 14

again says...

Martin true Viking wrote:
Petesmuk bang on. When I built my extension part if my planning was to create off road parking on other words get rid of my front garden. This is the case with all planning permissions. I expressed concern to the council that this would mean that rainwater usually drained through my garden would be diverted into drainage systems and the drains were not designed for this much water. I spent months explaining this to the 14 year old planning moron who told me I had no option. Thousands of houses around York have done this and it all now goes into the already overloaded drainage system. When will these people ever listen and learn that usually they are wrong and the reason they work for the council is because they are not fit for private industry.
If you use a permeable surface, e.g. block paving the water would have gone on draining through what used to be your garden.

Any professional could have told you that piece of common sense.

I guess that puts your opinions into perspective.
[quote][p][bold]Martin true Viking[/bold] wrote: Petesmuk bang on. When I built my extension part if my planning was to create off road parking on other words get rid of my front garden. This is the case with all planning permissions. I expressed concern to the council that this would mean that rainwater usually drained through my garden would be diverted into drainage systems and the drains were not designed for this much water. I spent months explaining this to the 14 year old planning moron who told me I had no option. Thousands of houses around York have done this and it all now goes into the already overloaded drainage system. When will these people ever listen and learn that usually they are wrong and the reason they work for the council is because they are not fit for private industry.[/p][/quote]If you use a permeable surface, e.g. block paving the water would have gone on draining through what used to be your garden. Any professional could have told you that piece of common sense. I guess that puts your opinions into perspective. again
  • Score: 9

4:18pm Fri 8 Aug 14

nottoooldtocare says...

greenmonkey wrote:
York1900 wrote:
Over the years gully-cleaning as gone from a monthly cycle of gully-cleaning to when there is a problem .
This started before 2010 and was not noticed as council reduced front line staff so the Liberal Democrats have nothing to shout about on gully-cleaning
They are all guilty of failing the people of York on gully-cleaning
Short term savings on clearing gullies and vegetation will only lead to bigger costs in the long run. We shouldnt wait until a sewer collapses (such as happened a couple of years ago under Fishergate) before maintenance work - Hopefully this will be addressed by the long awaited plan that follows legislation brought in following the Pitt report into the 2007 floods. More intense rainfall means that new developments should have bigger drains to manage flash floodwater as well as swales, rainwater recycling, green roofs etc to reduce runoff. Much of York has clay soils anyway as well as increased amounts of tarmac for car parks etc
There in lies one of the problems. The days of directing water into a pipe and "off my land" should be long gone. Why do you think we have so much flooding?
Drainage or gripping I think it was called has happened up on the NY Moors, up in the Dales etc years ago to get agricultural land back into production. The drains are now so big in places you can hide cars in them and the run off from them phenomenal. The housing developers have put in car parks and drainage, look at the number of industrial sites as well, these all used to be fields that drained naturally. now, all that water is into a pipe and away. Only trouble is it gets to towns like York and Selby many times more quickly resulting in flooding. A bit like the drainage report, LA's have been talking about sustainable drainage, but no real progress appears to have been made. Where there are surface water pond they don't get cleaned out, not do the supposed big storage pipes underground. Go back to soakaways and if the land won't drain then it shouldn't be built on.
[quote][p][bold]greenmonkey[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]York1900[/bold] wrote: Over the years gully-cleaning as gone from a monthly cycle of gully-cleaning to when there is a problem . This started before 2010 and was not noticed as council reduced front line staff so the Liberal Democrats have nothing to shout about on gully-cleaning They are all guilty of failing the people of York on gully-cleaning[/p][/quote]Short term savings on clearing gullies and vegetation will only lead to bigger costs in the long run. We shouldnt wait until a sewer collapses (such as happened a couple of years ago under Fishergate) before maintenance work - Hopefully this will be addressed by the long awaited plan that follows legislation brought in following the Pitt report into the 2007 floods. More intense rainfall means that new developments should have bigger drains to manage flash floodwater as well as swales, rainwater recycling, green roofs etc to reduce runoff. Much of York has clay soils anyway as well as increased amounts of tarmac for car parks etc[/p][/quote]There in lies one of the problems. The days of directing water into a pipe and "off my land" should be long gone. Why do you think we have so much flooding? Drainage or gripping I think it was called has happened up on the NY Moors, up in the Dales etc years ago to get agricultural land back into production. The drains are now so big in places you can hide cars in them and the run off from them phenomenal. The housing developers have put in car parks and drainage, look at the number of industrial sites as well, these all used to be fields that drained naturally. now, all that water is into a pipe and away. Only trouble is it gets to towns like York and Selby many times more quickly resulting in flooding. A bit like the drainage report, LA's have been talking about sustainable drainage, but no real progress appears to have been made. Where there are surface water pond they don't get cleaned out, not do the supposed big storage pipes underground. Go back to soakaways and if the land won't drain then it shouldn't be built on. nottoooldtocare
  • Score: 1

5:58pm Fri 8 Aug 14

Oaklands Resident says...

I am told that the Council did start a specific programme aimed at dealing with flooding/ponding issues 6 or 7 years ago. (Started by the LibDems and continued by Labour). This involves replacing blocked pipes. These may have collapsed or been blocked with concrete run offs or be the consequence of many other factors..

I can't find a progress report on the Council web site, but certainly problems in some streets have been addressed.

It is a different problem that has arisen since 2011.

The Council chose to make 3 economies

1. It reduced the number of litter bins and street sweeping frequencies. The consequence is that, in some streets, litter is blocking the drainage gullies.

2. The Council has been very slow to remove weed growth this year. Again many of the drainage channels are now blocked (worst I've ever seen in Acomb)

3. The Council decided not to routinely clean out gullies. This is the nub of the problem described in the article.

Contrary to what one commentator above claims, gullies have not - in the last 25 years or more - been subject to a "monthly clean" (gutters should be swept at least once a month but that is different issue).

Until last year, every gulley was checked and emptied each year.

It is the lack of a routine visit that is causing concern. It may be the cause of the flash flooding seen earlier today.

It would not be so bad if the reactive process was better. Too many reports by residents to the Councils contact centre fail to attract any feedback or action.

If ward Councillors were doing their job better, by routinely checking the quality of public services in their wards, then issues like this would be addressed before they impact on residents.

The amounts that the Council has saved by reducing maintenance regimes are tiny compared to the extravagance that will no doubt be the epitaph for the present Labour administration.
I am told that the Council did start a specific programme aimed at dealing with flooding/ponding issues 6 or 7 years ago. (Started by the LibDems and continued by Labour). This involves replacing blocked pipes. These may have collapsed or been blocked with concrete run offs or be the consequence of many other factors.. I can't find a progress report on the Council web site, but certainly problems in some streets have been addressed. It is a different problem that has arisen since 2011. The Council chose to make 3 economies 1. It reduced the number of litter bins and street sweeping frequencies. The consequence is that, in some streets, litter is blocking the drainage gullies. 2. The Council has been very slow to remove weed growth this year. Again many of the drainage channels are now blocked (worst I've ever seen in Acomb) 3. The Council decided not to routinely clean out gullies. This is the nub of the problem described in the article. Contrary to what one commentator above claims, gullies have not - in the last 25 years or more - been subject to a "monthly clean" (gutters should be swept at least once a month but that is different issue). Until last year, every gulley was checked and emptied each year. It is the lack of a routine visit that is causing concern. It may be the cause of the flash flooding seen earlier today. It would not be so bad if the reactive process was better. Too many reports by residents to the Councils contact centre fail to attract any feedback or action. If ward Councillors were doing their job better, by routinely checking the quality of public services in their wards, then issues like this would be addressed before they impact on residents. The amounts that the Council has saved by reducing maintenance regimes are tiny compared to the extravagance that will no doubt be the epitaph for the present Labour administration. Oaklands Resident
  • Score: 5

6:23pm Sat 9 Aug 14

Martin true Viking says...

again wrote:
Martin true Viking wrote:
Petesmuk bang on. When I built my extension part if my planning was to create off road parking on other words get rid of my front garden. This is the case with all planning permissions. I expressed concern to the council that this would mean that rainwater usually drained through my garden would be diverted into drainage systems and the drains were not designed for this much water. I spent months explaining this to the 14 year old planning moron who told me I had no option. Thousands of houses around York have done this and it all now goes into the already overloaded drainage system. When will these people ever listen and learn that usually they are wrong and the reason they work for the council is because they are not fit for private industry.
If you use a permeable surface, e.g. block paving the water would have gone on draining through what used to be your garden.

Any professional could have told you that piece of common sense.

I guess that puts your opinions into perspective.
I had a permeable surface a front garden. I presume you work in an office.
[quote][p][bold]again[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Martin true Viking[/bold] wrote: Petesmuk bang on. When I built my extension part if my planning was to create off road parking on other words get rid of my front garden. This is the case with all planning permissions. I expressed concern to the council that this would mean that rainwater usually drained through my garden would be diverted into drainage systems and the drains were not designed for this much water. I spent months explaining this to the 14 year old planning moron who told me I had no option. Thousands of houses around York have done this and it all now goes into the already overloaded drainage system. When will these people ever listen and learn that usually they are wrong and the reason they work for the council is because they are not fit for private industry.[/p][/quote]If you use a permeable surface, e.g. block paving the water would have gone on draining through what used to be your garden. Any professional could have told you that piece of common sense. I guess that puts your opinions into perspective.[/p][/quote]I had a permeable surface a front garden. I presume you work in an office. Martin true Viking
  • Score: 1

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