HIGH river levels have tested Malton and Norton’s flood defences.

Heavy rainfall last week saw the Derwent burst its banks and flood alerts put in place.

For much of the week, pumps were in operation in the towns and County Bridge was closed to pedestrians for several days.

Firefighters were called to a flooded property in Castlegate, Malton, and helped in the rescue of sheep from the riverbank.

The high river also caused Easter events to be postponed at Howsham Mill.

A leak in the floodbank at Old Malton brought the Environment Agency’s senior manager to Old Malton at the invitation of Malton Town Council’s member for floods Councillor Martin Dales.

Mark Scott, Yorkshire area manager at the Environment Agency, along with Thirsk and Malton MP Kevin Hollinrake, were taken on a tour of the

situation in Old Malton where three pumps were deployed to deal with rising waters.

Cllr Dales, who is also a resident of Old Malton, said: “As well as drawing attention to the leaking flood bank, it also gave me the opportunity to say how very much residents appreciated the speed of all the agencies involved in putting in place the plan for Old Malton and Malton before anything serious happened.

“I stressed how a permanent pumping solution would be better but that the temporary arrangement seems to work well and has done when there have been flooding events in recent years.”

It is believed the leak in the bank is being caused by the remnants of a rotting tree around which the defences were first built in 2003.

Cllr Dales said: “I asked Mark Scott whether when it was dryer that section of flood bank might have the tree trunk removed and new clay put in to ensure it doesn’t leak again.

“I think the answer was ‘possibly’ but that there were other drains on the Environment Agency’s resources in other parts of Yorkshire as well.”