MILLIONS of pounds need to be spent on bolstering York's flood defences, a new report has revealed.

A long-awaited draft Flood Risk Management strategy has finally been produced by City of York Council, in conjunction with key partners including the Environment Agency and Yorkshire Water.

It proposes a list of measures including schemes to improve defences along the River Ouse and River Foss, such as upgrades to the Foss Barrier pumps, the renovation of flood gates and improvements to existing flood banks.

It also suggests measures to help prevent surface water flooding, including ensuring that planning decisions properly address all aspects of flood risk and that surface water flows are managed and controlled in a sustainable manner.

The strategy, which will be taken to a Cabinet meeting next week for approval to take to consultation, follows the severe floods in 2007 across the UK, including York, which affected over 55,000 homes and businesses causing over £3billion worth of damage nationwide.

The Flood and Water Management Act of 2010 gave the council major new responsibilities and local flood risk management duties.

Cabinet member Cllr Dave Merrett said the strategy was an important next step in planning how flood risk in York could be addressed, adding:"It highlights the challenge we face but also the need for significantly more investment at a national level to help tackle this issue.”

Proposed spending includes an estimated £2 million on an upgrade of the Foss Barrier and pumping station, which protects thousands of properties alongside the River Foss by preventing floodwaters from backing up the river from the Ouse.

Another £3.5 million is needed for an appraisal and replacement of the Burdyke and Holgate pumping station, £1.5 million for the restoration of the Clifton Ings barrier bank and £5 million on developing and delivering a range of measures to reduce the impact of flooding in unprotected areas of York, such as Bishopthorpe, Acaster Malbis, Fulford, Clementhorpe, Naburn, Kings Staith and Tower Street and Nether Poppleton.

The report says close working and coordination is required between the council and the Environment Agency, and there needs to be work with residents and businesses to deliver "collectively funded protection measures."

Almost half a million pounds a year also needs to be spent on a maintenance programme for existing defences and upstream management.