THE removal of a major York flood barrier has been suspended - because of flooding.

A crane had been due to start lifting the old Foss Barrier gate today, prior to replacing it with a taller 16 tonne gate.

But the River Ouse is set to rise this week to more than four metres above normal summer levels because of Storm Christoph, and the Environment Agency said this means it has had to delay some of the crane lift operations and the gate replacement work may take a little longer to complete than originally planned.

"As soon as Ouse levels fall then we will be able to continue and at no time will the flood protection that the Foss Barrier provides be compromised," said a spokeswoman.

She said work to replace the large lifting gate started at the beginning of January and was expected to take around a month to complete.

"Ensuring that flood protection on the River Foss is maintained while we do this is our top priority," she said.

"This is why we have installed eight large steel stoplogs across the Foss channel that will allow the Foss Barrier to operate as normal without a gate and they will remain in place until the new gate is in place and operable."

She said the barrier pumps are operating as normal and engineers were on site 24/7 to monitor a newly installed computer control system.