THE article “EA gives fullest account yet” (The Press, January 7) details the immediate reason for opening the Foss Barrier, ie a choice of evils between what actually happened, and possibly worse if the electrics failed and the barrier couldn’t be raised.

However, there is something not mentioned in Mr Kirman’s account.

There was a report by the then National Rivers Authority around ten years ago which described the barrier as being designed with several redundancies: “In the event of failure of both mains and standby power the gate can be wound by hand through the gearbox.

“In the unlikely event of gearbox seizure, chain blocks are provided which could be used to raise or lower the gate independently of the normal drive arrangement.”

Are these two manual raising methods still supposed to be available?

If they are available, are they regularly tested, and why weren’t they taken into account?

If no longer available, why not?

Michael Cadoux, Horseman Avenue, Copmanthorpe, York