SAFETY changes to York's rivers are facing delays, but work is ongoing, with more details emerging.

Following the deaths of five people in the Ouse and Foss this year, and a report from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA), City of York Council allocated £100,000 to install new equipment, fencing and signage in the city.

The changes were announced in October, and work is due to take place into Spring next year, but delays of at least two weeks have already occurred due to the supply of custom made rescue equipment.

Dave Meigh, City of York Council’s Public Realm Operations Manager, said the authority was installing 65 new life rings on the rivers, replacing the existing 49 and adding a further 16 newer models with floating ropes.

He said: "We have also taken the decision to include York-specific location and instruction signage. Commissioning this bespoke equipment has resulted in a slight delay of a fortnight on delivery and, following a review of rescue equipment, it's being put in locations which will be easier to reach during flooding and are nearer steps and other river access points.

"However this time has not been lost as we’ve used it to complete new fencing at the Blue Bridge and improve existing fencing in the area, as well as repairs to the Bonding Warehouse steps ahead of the schedule.

"A standard fence design for key points along the Foss has been approved by a working group to fit York’s aesthetic and safety requirements and in line with the timetable, and this will be installed along Wellington Row early in the new year."

Mr Meigh said the review of grab rails is already underway and will be complete in the spring when river levels are lower, and some road markings have been improved to ensure emergency access to slipways is easier.

He said work had already been done with the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA) awards scheme on the National Curriculum, to develop awareness programmes in school from early next year, and gave more details on work to be carried out in 2015.

He said: "In January, we have a programme to clear silt from tow paths, particularly around Terry Avenue. New steps near St Peter’s Boat House at Clifton Reach and repairs to those at Clifton Bridge are scheduled, with timings dependent on river levels.

"When the river is settled at a lower level in spring, chains and ladders will be repaired and new ones will be added to locations recommended by RoSPA, such as at the Tower Gardens riverside. Sight lines along the river bank will be improved by pruning trees this Winter at Millennium Bridge, Wellington Row, Victoria Park and along the River Foss’s tow path in the Huntington Road area."