Floods cost City £3.3 million
It seems that over 12 months will have elapsed between the Boxing Day 2015 flooding crisis in York and the earliest date that changes to flood response practices in the City could be implemented.
The Council now says that its Executive will not consider the report of an independent floods inquiry until 26th January 2017.
The Inquiry was set up last Spring by the Council with a budget of £50,000. It was expected to deliver an early verdict on the performance of the authorities in dealing with the floods which devastated many parts of the City which lay near the Foss.
The performance of the Council itself on the 26th and 27th December was subject to criticism, with communications and relief work largely in the hands of the emergency services and volunteers on those days. There was no useful advice on the Councils web site at that time although information was updated later.
Nearly 12 months after the floods some businesses are only now reopening.
In the interim the Environment Agency have fitted powerful new pumps at the Foss Barrier while work to protect Leeman Road has been finished. Some local watercourses like the Tang Hall Beck have been cleared of debris by volunteers.
But large areas of the City remain vulnerable if a combination of melting snow and falling rain causes the Ouse to break its banks.
The York Disaster Fund – established to deal with emergencies of this nature – was also ineffective in the first week of the crisis and even now has only distributed around half of the £1.3 million raised by donations.
The Independent Inquiry has been taking evidence from the public over the last couple of months.
It’s membership – a Barrister and two water industry professionals – has been criticised for lacking local authority/emergency planning expertise.
So, what they will conclude is anyone’s guess.
However clearly when flooding does occur – as it will – the City needs to be quicker and more professional in its response
We can only hope that there are no major floods in the city before February at the earliest!
Concerned residents can find more information by clicking these links: