AN action group is urging the Government to commit to a new plan to tackle flooding in Ryedale.
Last week, the Gazette & Herald reported that scientists from four UK universities had worked with local people to produce a report on how to prevent flooding in Pickering and Sinnington.
The report recommended solutions such as upstream water storage and clearing the drainage system of blockages.
Now the Pickering Flood Defence Group have written to central Government to ask them to take the report’s findings forward.
Coun Howard Keal, leader of the group, wrote: “We urge you to back the findings of the Ryedale Flood Research Group and ensure that the Environment Agency takes this opportunity to protect the
people of Pickering.
“Up to now the Government and the Environment Agency have shown a lack of urgency and failed to safeguard the town despite spending £750,000 of public money five years ago to design viable
“Had they gone ahead the town would have been spared yet another flood last summer which devastated 100 homes and businesses and caused in excess of £5 million of damage.”
The Environment Agency said they welcomed the release of the report, but that there is more work to be done before the proposals can be implemented.
Project manager Jeff Pacey said: “We welcome this piece of independent research, by some very well respected academics.
“There weren’t very many numbers in the report, and so we still have to work with Durham University to calculate what their proposals will cost, and see if we can get funding.
“What scientist Stuart Lane has been able to do is to use a computer model to show how much water the bunds could store upstream, and how much that could reduce water flow through Pickering.
“What the report didn’t do was decide on where the bunds should be placed, how many we would need and whether we would be able to access the river to put them in. We would have to speak to
landowners about this.
“We have got £50,000 available this financial year for research to answer these questions, but whether or not we can put the bunds in will probably be dependent on cost.”
Mr Pacey admitted it could be difficult to secure funding for rural flood relief.
He said: “The Government allocate money to these projects based on the number of homes that would be saved.
“This is a national pot of money, so inevitably, an £18 million project to save 3000 homes in Selby is going to take priority over a £7 million project to save 40 homes in Pickering.”