In an open letter published yesterday (Tuesday), Coun Fitzgerald-Smith said: “Many residents will continue through this winter with the threat of repeat flooding hanging over them. A very clear assurance is needed that the agencies responsible have the systems and infrastructure in place to manage drainage and water flow.”
He added that the agencies worked together to establish permanent remedies for the flooding problems “not only to relieve the anxiety of residents in the firing line, but also to avoid the accumulating costs of the emergency services’ input during, and after, each event”.
Coun Fitzgerald-Smith went on: “The leadership of this process needs to be evident to all and the assurance must be provided by the lead agency.”
He has asked Mr Flint to “make a clear statement that Yorkshire Water is embarked on and leading” all the appropriate agencies, and that it is being progressed “with the urgency that the seriousness of the problem demands”.
Mr Flint is being asked to visit the towns himself to give the assurance.
Meanwhile, Ryedale District Council in a statement yesterday, said that more than 600mm of rain fell in the district between September and December, nearly double the normal amount of rainfall for the period. It pushed river and groundwater to the highest levels since records began.
Supt Glynn Payne, co-ordinator of the Silver Command Team which comprises leaders of the Fire and Rescue Service, Environment Agency, North Yorkshire County Council, Yorkshire Water and Ryedale District Council, said the group had worked through the holiday period protecting properties from flooding. The water reached a level similar to that of November 2000 when more than 215 properties were flooded in Ryedale.
Supt Payne said: “The efforts of all agencies continue to be phenomenal to ensure that people throughout Ryedale can continue life as normal.”
Although the river and groundwater levels have dropped, the Silver Command group is continuing to monitor the situation.
Meanwhile a multi-agency investigation into the recent flooding in Malton and Norton is being led by North Yorkshire County Council. It will include a particular focus on the effect of rising groundwater levels.
It is expected to report back to the North Yorkshire Flood Risk Partnership in March and will be carried out in conjunction with a review of all flooding in the county last year to assist with the development of a long-term flood risk strategy.
Information and data will also be gathered from the public as well as all the key organisations including Yorkshire Water, the Environment Agency and district councils and will look at how agencies responded and worked together to manage the flood risk and how the infrastructure coped.