WORK to build a reservoir upstream from a town with a long history of flooding is set to start more than two years after a scheme was abandoned after costs doubled to £3.2m.

The Environment Agency’s £2m flood storage reservoir scheme in Newtondale, on the North York Moors, will hold back more than 100,000 cubic metres of flood water from reaching Pickering at times of peak flow down Pickering Beck.

The agency said while the reservoir would not prevent all floods, it has estimated the risk of flooding in the town in any one year will reduce from 25 per cent to a four per cent chance.

Major deluges have been recorded in Pickering in 1979, 1999, 2002, 2007 and last year.

The scheme follows a decade-long campaign by residents and politicians demanding action to protect the town.

In 2008, campaigners, including 90-year-old resident Topsy Clinch, set up a living room in the beck, and took a petition to parliament after flood waters devastated 100 homes and businesses, causing in excess of £5m damage.