THE pioneering scheme of building dams and storing potential flood water sweeping into Pickering from the North Yorkshire Moors needs a further £400,000.

Town councillors were given the news by Ian Thompson, area flood and coastal risk manager for the Environment Agency in North and East Yorkshire, who said the £2.5m project, known as Slow the Flow, needs the additional money to complete the work which is being carried out at Newbridge, just north of the market town.

Mr Thompson said all partners in the venture – seen as one which could be replicated in other flood-hit areas of Britain – were being asked to help contribute towards the funding gap.

He said that the scheme would not be completed before the autumn of this year.

North Yorkshire County Council and Ryedale District Council are also being asked to contribute.

Pickering Town Council clerk Andrew Husband said the Pickering council had agreed to contribute £5,000 towards the on-going maintenance of the defence work. A decision is expected to be made shortly by the town council.

Meanwhile, the North York Moors National Park Authority says it has planted 8,500 trees as part of the Slow the Flow project, many by volunteers.

“Trees can play a huge part in absorbing surface water run-off and reducing peak flow flooding,” said Rachel Pickering, the park’s conservation officer.

About 18 timber dams had also been built across watercourses and numerous moorland gullies had been blocked with bales of heather on the Levisham Estate. Heather brash has been spread at the Hole of Horcum to aid re-vegetation as part of drainage improvement work.

Pickering has a long history of flooding, with major incidents in 1999, 2000, and 2002 when about 20 properties were hit in each case, mainly in the Park Street, Beck Isle and Market Place areas. However in 2007, about 85 properties were flooded, causing an estimated £7m of damage.

The new scheme is designed to hold back about 120,000 cubic metres of flood water in Newtondale.

• The Slow the Flow Project has been a joint venture supported by the Forestry Commission, Environment Agency, National Park Authority, Natural England, NYCC