HUNDREDS of York doorways are to be surveyed with laser scanners to help environment chiefs decide how best to spend £45 million on upgrading flood defences.

The Environment Agency says surveyors need to measure the heights of 900 doorways above ground level throughout a zone alongside the River Ouse, including Clementhorpe and areas off Fishergate and Fulford Road.

A spokesman said doorways were usually the lowest entry point for flood waters to enter properties, and so having this information would allow it to better understand the level of risk to homes and businesses across York.

The results would be combined with an earlier drone survey to give the agency a detailed understanding of the flow paths of flood waters and of exactly how properties may be at risk.

“This, alongside ground investigation works due to follow later in the summer, will enable us to produce outline designs for new schemes in these areas which provide the maximum possible benefit to residents and the wider community,” he said, adding that other zones would be surveyed subsequently.

The spokesman said the agency was also working to refine initial options for its five-year plan, which were outlined last November.

“We are keen to work with residents to achieve this, and would welcome invitations to attend ward meetings and discuss progress at a local level.

“Last week we met with Cllr Mary Cannon and residents of the Hob Moor Drive area to discuss the outline options for the area.”

He revealed that the agency was setting up an advisory group of key partner organisations to influence the development of schemes coming forward, and had just set up a Facebook page (search @YorkFAS) to provide more regular updates.

It had also been carrying out a detailed modelling study of the Foss catchment, to investigate where interventions could have maximum benefit, and how much impact this could have to flood risk in York, details of which would be released next week.

Meanwhile, the £17 million upgrade of the Foss Flood Barrier pumping station was progressing on schedule.”The steel frame is complete and the new roof is almost finished,” he said.

“The focus in the coming weeks will be on constructing the internal walls to allow us to begin fitting out the building. We will be operating from the new building this winter.”