COUNTY Bridge between Malton and Norton is currently closed due to the high river levels.

Traffic is being diverted down Norton Road (Blackboards) and via the bypass.

The current height of the river is 4.33m

North Yorkshire Councillor Keane Duncan said: "he Environment Agency has decided to close County Bridge in the interests of safety due to levels going over 4.2m last night.

"It is predicted levels would be in excess of 4.3m possibly rising to 4.6m over rest of weekend. This is dependant on rainfall expected the afternoon and early evening of Saturday.

"The pedestrian gates on the bridge will be closed once levels reach 4.8m (although not expected at this time).

"Additional pumps have been put in place at Morrisons car park as water is now pooling there. An issue with the pump at Tate Smiths Yard has now been fixed.

Traffic is being diverted via Norton Road/Blackboards and the bypass. A review of diversions in case of future closures has been requested.2

A spokesperson for North Yorkshire Council said: "We’ve got a number of pumps working over the weekend to help keep down water levels in Malton and Norton. It’s part of our normal response when water levels are high. We’ll continue to monitor the water level throughout the weekend, but don’t anticipate issues. We know the pumps are causing a bit of disruption along Church Street and would like to particularly thank businesses in the area for their patience."

The Mayor of Norton Cllr DI Keal said: ""Yet again Norton is the victim of years of neglect by Yorkshire Water, the Environment Agency and North Yorkshire Council. "All are responsible for protecting the town from flooding and know that we need a permanent pumping solution to water and sewage on the 'dry' side of the flood defences. They have the plans for this - they just need to fund the scheme. "Instead they hide behind a 'temporary pump plan' and every time river levels are high in the Derwent the town comes to a standstill with gridlocked traffic. "There is a gulley under Church Street that houses the pipes from the flood pumps, so there is no need to close half of Church Street. Until this year this closure has never happened and it causes absolute unnecessary chaos on St Nicholas Street.

"By allegedly protecting pedestrians on Church Street, the closure makes it extremely dangerous for them on St Nicholas Street. In an emergency I have witnessed drivers mount the pavement on both sides of the road to let ambulances through and people literally risk their lives to cross amongst the constant flow of traffic."

River levels remain high on Pickering Beck and Costa Beck due to recent persistent rain. Areas most at risk include low lying land around Pickering Beck and its tributaries including Raindale Beck, Levisham Beck, Gundale Beck, Costa Beck, and including properties in Kirby Misperton and Pickering.

A spokesperson for the Environment Agency said: "We continue to monitor levels closely. Avoid using low lying footpaths and any bridges near local watercourses and do not attempt to walk or drive through flood water."