ONE year on from the flooding which devastated North Yorkshire, an MP revealed today he is pressing for a major change in the way flood defences are funded.

York MP Hugh Bayley said he wanted regional flood committees to have the powers to set precepts on local councils, just like fire and police authorities.

He said this would prevent a repeat of the situation earlier this year when local authority representatives on the Yorkshire Regional Flood Defence Committee refused to stump up the extra council tax needed to fund defence improvements across York and North Yorkshire.

He said he had raised his suggestion with Government floods minister Elliot Morley and was hopeful of a positive response.

Mr Bayley, speaking during a visit to the Foss Barrier a key part of York's flood defences which saved hundreds of homes alongside the River Foss from inundation last autumn said he wanted to see defences improved in the Clementhorpe area, where homes in River Street were devastated by the Ouse.

He said he would be organising a meeting with Clementhorpe residents and the Environment Agency in November to discuss matters.

Meanwhile, a village near York feels forgotten today and is waiting with some trepidation for the coming winter.

Elvington was hit hard last November as scores of residents were cut off for 18 days as the floodwaters peaked.

But nothing has been done in the past year to protect it from any potential flooding this time around.

Parish council chairwoman Janice Stark said the council had held meetings with City of York Council, the Environment Agency and the Regional Flood Committee but the village was low down on the priority list for flood defence improvements, which were estimated to cost £750,000.

She said: "We do feel forgotten here in the village. We are not seen as high priority. But residents, particularly those in the nine or so houses that were flood damaged a year ago, are angry that nothing has been done."

She said the parish council had its own action plan in place. When the beck which runs through the village or the River Derwent looked set to flood, they would warn people to move their cars onto the York side of the Main Street to stop them getting completely cut off.

She added: "I've lived in the village for 40 years and last year was the worst flooding we have ever seen. The prospect of coping with that again is daunting."

Mr Bayley said flood defence work was chosen in order of its cost effectiveness.

"It is worked out by the number of properties that are protected per pound and there is not the money available to be spent in certain communities hit last year."

North Yorkshire's Floods 200 nightmare: view here

Updated: 10:03 Monday, October 29, 2001