ENGINEERS will have a total of £13 million to strengthen the Foss flood barrier pumping station - which failed because of the sheer volume of water coming down the Foss, a councillor has revealed.

Cllr Andrew Waller said the £10 million announced by the Prime Minister on Sunday to bolster the pumping station would be on top of £3 million which had already been allocated for improvements to the pumps and software in 2016.

The City of York Council executive member for the environment said that after speaking to the Environment Agency, it had become clear that the problems after Christmas were caused by the Foss and not the Ouse.

While the Ouse did not get as high as it did in the record-breaking floods of November 2000, the Foss was higher, with more than 30 tonnes of water coming down the Foss every second at the peak of the flood, with five tonnes a second of this coming from Tang Hall Beck.

The Environment Agency decided to raise the barrier because the pumps could not cope with this volume of water and floodwater was in danger of causing an electrical failure.

The agency has said such a failure with the barrier down would have led to more than 1,800 homes being flooded, rather than about 600 as actually happened.

York Central MP Rachael Maskell said yesterday that successive reports by the agency and local authority had highlighted that the capacity of the pumps installed in the barrier was insufficient and could potentially cause the Foss to flood.

She said she was 'furious' to learn that successive reports had shown this issue had been well understood for years and yet no action had been taken, resulting in hundreds of people being flooded.

"I want to know why no action was taken to increase the capacity of the pumps at the barrier some 30 years after it was installed," she said.

"Climate change and increased incidents of flooding must have sent alarm bells off to the authors of successive reports highlighting the risk that the barrier could not cope."

Meanwhile, huge new sandbags were being lowered into place at the entrance to Tower Gardens by City of York Council workmen yesterday. A council spokeswoman said they were put there as part of normal floods procedures.