THE testing of a new long-awaited flood defence in York has been successful.

A wall of sandbag barriers is no longer needed to protect 135 homes in Clementhorpe, in the event of the River Ouse bursting its banks, as today’s (Wednesday, June 29) new flood gate has passed its leak test.

The flood gate, launched as part of a £7.7 million flood prevention scheme by the Environment Agency, defended Clementhorpe from a replicated flooding of the River Ouse on the other side.

York Press: The new Clementhorpe flood gate Picture: Environment AgencyThe new Clementhorpe flood gate Picture: Environment Agency

The Agency has said that their next steps are for Terry Avenue to reopen by Monday, July 11, subject to sign off from City of York Council.

Mark Fuller, from the Environment Agency, said: “Clementhorpe has been a difficult place to protect, both technically and with expensive problems to overcome, but we were given extra money after the 2015 floods so we could look at the area again.

“The gate test is a key part of the project and its working really well, the water behind the gate is up to the maximum flood level and its showing that there’s practically no seepage coming through the gate at all. Though until we’d tested it, we didn’t know, and you don’t want the first test to be during a flood.

“So a test gives us the change to make any adjustments which we don’t need to do on this one, we can write it off as a successful leak test, it’s a testament to all the designers and the work that’s gone into it.”

York Press: A scene from November 2000, when the Ouse reached a record 5.4 metres above normal summer levels Picture: York Press ArchivesA scene from November 2000, when the Ouse reached a record 5.4 metres above normal summer levels Picture: York Press Archives

The River Ouse rose 5.4 metres above normal levels in the November 2000 floods, which saw River Street’s residents evacuated by river boats.

Mr Fuller worked on the EA’s incident team at the time. He said: “As far as the Environment Agency was concerned, Clementhorpe was an undefended area.

“The council had sandbags and pumps to pump the water back over again, which did work to an extent, but it was very labour intensive, it wasn’t 21st century technology like this gate it, this is a far better solution.

“There will still need to be a pumping arrangement to deal with any surface water from the rain (in the event of a flood) covering the road that can’t flow back into the river, but it would be much more manageable -  the gate itself stops the water coming over from the river.”

They Agency told The Press that throughout July and the first half of August, residents will see an increase in traffic along Butcher Terrace while they close the site for more flood defence work, which will take place within contracted hours Monday to Friday.