MPs Hugh Bayley and Anne McIntosh have secured a Ministerial meeting to discuss the need for millions of pounds of flood defence work in North Yorkshire.

Floods Minister Elliot Morley agreed to face-to-face talks after being pressed by the MPs in a Commons debate yesterday afternoon.

City MP Mr Bayley is to point out that York needs an extra £11m to prevent a repeat of last year's catastrophic floods.

Ms McIntosh, MP for Vale of York, will ask for a pumping station to bebuilt in Rawcliffe.

During Environment, Food and Rural Affairs questions, Mr Bayley told Elliot Morley: "The Environment Agency's most recent estimate for the cost of reinforcing York's flood defences is something like £11m and this will require a very substantial increase in the regional flood committee's budget - both the Government's contribution and the local authorities'contribution.

"Would you be prepared to meet me to discuss those respective contributions and also to discuss revising the rules for local authority contributions."At the moment these allow local authorities in upland areas to veto the raising of revenue for building vitally-important flood defences in lowland areas, particularly in the Vale of York."

Mr Morley said "a great deal of additional resources" had been directed to York already, but Mr Morley agreed to the meeting after he admitted that "there is a backlog in relation to long-term repairs" in North Yorkshire.

Ms McIntosh rose to her feet immediately after Mr Bayley.

She called for a pumping station - either permanent or mobile - to "prevent the water from Blue Beck and all the nasties coming out of the sewage treatment back into the houses again this year."

The Minister replied: "I do understand the concerns of local people. "It does of course depend on such things as environmental considerations, cost benefit considerations, how often that pump will be used, and whether there are other ways that area can be defended because that's being looked at as well, but we are more than willing to consider representations."

Ryedale MP John Greenway also spoke in the debate. He called for the Government to take greater responsibility for flood defence work.

He claimed that, at present, too much responsibility rests with local councils who are "not interested".

Updated: 08:03 Friday, October 19, 2001