THE battle to prevent another devastating flood in York is set to be boosted by a new high tech early warning station being built upstream.

The Environment Agency is building a new concrete lined channel under the River Nidd at Skipbridge to ensure accurate ultrasound river flow readings can be taken.

Project manager Oliver Wilson said: “This is one of the agency’s critical assets for our flood warning service and for managing water resource available for abstraction.

“Having an early warning that the Ouse could overtop in York means we can act early to prevent flooding by closing flood gates in the city.

“The construction under the river enables an ultrasonic device attached under the bridge to measure the exact flow of water coming down the Nidd, which joins the Ouse about a mile downstream at Nun Monkton.

“There was an existing concrete channel built a number of years ago but due to the design and flow dynamics it created in the river the bed got silted up, causing incorrect flow readings and it not working as an effective gauge station.”

He said the new channel was designed to make sure sediment passed through it and flow readings were accurate.

He said lower river levels caused by dry weather had enabled the agency to make really good progress and it expected the gauge station to be fully functioning by the winter.

The work has taken place under a bridge over the river on the A59 near Green Hammerton, between York and Harrogate.

Mr Wilson said building structures in a river channel was no easy feat and so a cofferdam had been built, with one half of the river dammed off to create a dry working area to enable construction on that side, before the other side was dammed to allow the new channel structure to be completed.