THE Government's new flooding envoy for Yorkshire says the decision to lift the Foss Barrier helped prevent further flooding last week.

Scarborough MP Robert Goodwill was made "flooding envoy" for Yorkshire this week, and met with York's MPs and council leaders for talks on the flooding today.

Speaking to The Press at the Foss Barrier, Mr Goodwill said: "The right decision was made in opening the barrier.

"If it had been left in the down position and the systems to open and close it and pumps had been rendered inoperable, we would have seen more than 1,800 properties flood, rather than 600 or so. If the barrier had been left down they would have flooded even deeper and further 1,200 properties would have flooded as well. It's no consolation to them, but I am satisfied that the right decision was made and I think the Prime Minister made the right decision in making sure the right funding has been put in place."

On Sunday, the Government announced £40m funding had been allocated to bolster flood defences in Yorkshire, with £10 million allocated specifically to York, on top of £50 million to help local authorities responding to the flood.

James Bevan, chief executive of the Environment Agency, was also in York yesterday, and said that by making the decision to raise the barrier, 1,200 properties had been spared from the floods, but said "no-one has been sacrificed for anyone else", and he was "absolutely sure that was the right decision".

Julian Sturdy, MP for York Outer, said although no timescale for the improvements had yet been decided, the funding was already in place and accessible to the Environment Agency and necessary authorities, and said "they have certainly got everything they need in terms of money and political will".

He said: "The money is in the system already, so in theory could start in this year as soon as they get access again and can get on site safely.

"Obviously, there is some more immediate stuff they want to do, like getting the electrics up and going here so they're not running from generators. They're also talking about housing the electrics in the roof not on the floor, and opening the capacity because as we know the pumps couldn't cope with the capacity. We have to make sure that doesn't happen again."

Rachael Maskell, MP for York Central, said she would be calling for extra assistance for small businesses and York attractions affected by the flooding, when Parliament reconvenes this week, but also said she was concerned about York's more vulnerable residents.

She said: "Some of the more socially deprived areas of the city and vulnerable residents, such as the travelling community and the elderly, it seems some of the communication was poorest in those communities and some of those communities have not got insurance because they simply cannot afford it, so I have asked for assistance for the poorest people in our communities."

Chris Steward, leader of City of York Council, said the important thing now was to ensure businesses and residents knew how to find out more about any financial assistance or tax reductions they were entitled to following the flooding, with information being made available through the local press and on the council website,