The sluice gate at Clifton Ings has now been opened to allow floodwaters to enter the Ings, the Environment Agency has just confirmed.

Questions were being asked earlier this afternoon about why the gate had not been opened sooner.

Press Camera Club member Harry Pomfret posted several photos showing floodwaters slopping over the top of the floodbanks into the Ings.

Reader David Sempers, who passed the Ings earlier this afternoon, said: "It just looks like a big, long waterfall."

Mr Sempers said there was a metal sluice gate at the Skelton end of the Ings. "Normally they open that to let water into the Ings, then when the Ings are full they close it," he said.

"When the river level goes down again there's another gate at the Clifton Bridge end. They open this to let the water out.

"If they aren't opening the gate to let water into the Ings it means there will be more water downstream. I just can't understand why they haven't done it."

A spokesperson for the Environment Agency said this afternoopn that the opening of the gate had to be timed carefully to allow the Ings to have the maximum impact on reducing the peak of any flood.

"There is an optimum time to open the gate, so that they help reduce the peak," she said. "If you open the gates too early, the Ings get full and there is no dcapacity left. We have to do it at exactly the right time."

The spokeswoman called back at 5.25pm this afternoon to confirm that the sluice gates had now been opened.