URGENT repairs to York's flood defences can now go ahead, after the region's flood chiefs approved a ten per cent increase in the local authority levy.

As reported in later editions of yesterday's Evening Press, the way above inflation increase was agreed at a meeting of the Yorkshire Regional Flood Defence Committee.

Urgent work now expected to be carried out in York includes the bolstering of defences near an electricity sub-station and the Moat House Hotel, in North Street.

York flood victim Win Derbyshire, of South Esplanade, welcomed the news.

She said: "I am very pleased that this money has been secured."

Meanwhile, victims and civic leaders in Malton and Norton were today celebrating news that work on their towns' long-awaited flood defences can finally begin. The Environment Agency gave the go-ahead for work to start after a double dose of good news from the Yorkshire Regional Flood Defence Committee and the Floods Minister Elliot Morley.

First, the defence committee yesterday gave the green light to a ten per cent hike in the local authority levy for spending on flood defences. This was followed by Mr Morley's announcement of a £3.8m DEFRA grant to help pay for the £6.3m Malton and Norton scheme.

Updated: 10:46 Friday, January 11, 2002