IT will take years of work and major cash investment before York council workers get drains and gullies across the city up to a decent standard, it has been claimed.

City of York Council officials recently produced a report on flood risks in the city, after downpours in June overwhelmed the drains and left several streets underwater.

The report was damning about years of neglect and underinvestment which had left drains all over the city blocked with debris and in poor repair.

It said York residents had been exposed to increased flooding because drainage maintenance and decision-making had been lacking for years.

Earlier this week, that report was presented to executive member for the environment Andrew Waller, and officials told Cllr Waller they wanted a major cash investment to bring the network up to scratch.

Flood risk manager Steve Wragg said workmen checking drains and gullies around the city were finding them to be badly blocked. 

Cleaning them out was taking a lot of work, and engineers were having to do heavy maintenance works at the same time, he added.

Now they want to spend around three years checking all 41,000 gullies across the city to build up a full picture of their condition, so the council can then start a regular and intelligent programme of maintenance.

To fund the work, the environment department will be bidding for a significant three-year investment from the council’s capital fund.

Cllr Waller approved that plan, but also said the council needs to come down hard on builders who let waste materials block up drains.

York Press:

He said too many streets had flooded because gullies were blocked with building materials, and asked for a clear public reporting system so the council could find the problems, and take action against the culprits.

At the same meeting on Monday, Cllr Waller approved a plan for a new £30,000 community recycling fund, which will give grants to grass-roots groups with projects that can help make York the greenest city in the north.

Lump sums of up to £5,000 will be given out for ideas that could cut the amount of rubbish being sent to landfill sites – and save the council money in landfill tax.