ENGINEERS have ruled out building flood defence walls alongside the River Foss in York to help prevent a repeat of the 2015 flooding disaster.

The Environment Agency says its plan for a new massive new flood storage area upstream near Strensall is a better option, because it will be less disruptive and visually intrusive and also less expensive.

The thinking behind the storage area option emerged at drop-ins held by agency staff last week in Strensall Village Hall and at a church in Huntington Road.

Hundreds of properties, many in the Huntington Road area, were inundated in late 2015 when the Foss burst its banks after prolonged rainfall.

Information panels at the drop-ins said the agency had considered a number of different options for reducing the risk of flooding along the Foss, and flood walls were short-listed but ‘not taken forward due to too many constraints’.

It said multiple private properties bordered the banks of the Foss, making wall-building ‘challenging and potentially undesirable for these homeowners'.

Several conservation areas would also be affected and there were also multiple underground services such as sewers.

In contrast, a flood storage area could be constructed away from built-up areas, and therefore cause less disruption.

Agency official Richard Lever said the agency would have had to build about 4km, or 2.5 miles, of walls and embankments, to protect a vulnerable stretch along the Foss in York.

“The height of these would be around 1.8m in some places,” he said. “They would have to be built along stretches of the footpath along the river and go through many private gardens.

“These factors make such a solution very expensive and technically hard to construct.

“They would also have a significant impact on the visual character and access to areas given the location, height and length of the wall.”

He said the storage area scheme had the advantage of providing a solution at a single location, which would protect about 300 properties from flooding all the way from Strensall to the city centre.

“Overall, the storage area scheme will provide the same level of protection as walls or embankments but will be cheaper to build and operate.”