Flooding in York – where to find information

The government produces maps which show which streets in the City are subject to surface water flooding risks.

Of course, as we saw this morning, other areas can be vulnerable if the capacity of drains is exceeded (and/or they are blocked).

You can access the information here: https://flood-warning-information.service.gov.uk/long-term-flood-risk

Real time flooding maps can be found via this link https://flood-warning-information.service.gov.uk/map

Real time river level gauges can be found here http://www.gaugemap.co.uk/#!Map

The York Council’s surface water management plan can be downloaded from this link http://www.york.gov.uk/download/downloads/id/11055/surface_water_management_plan.pdf

York Council to receive update report on 5 year flood plan

Naburn Weir

A meeting taking place on 3rd July will receive an update report on the progress made in reducing flooding risks in York.

The meeting will also receive reports on addressing flooding problems in Fulford and on plans to make significant changes to Osbaldwick beck in the Hull Road park area.

The flooding in late December 2015 followed an intense period of rainfall across November and December due to the impacts of Storms Desmond and Eva.

Record river levels were observed in many river catchments across the north of England. More than 4000 homes and 2000 businesses flooded across Yorkshire with 453 properties and 174 businesses flooded in York.

Funding was allocated to the Environment Agency (EA) following the floods to renew existing and provide new flood defences across the city.

£17m has been allocated to the Foss Barrier improvements and £45m to the wider flood defences across the city.

The Environment Agency has provided a summary report for the meeting and also an analysis of options for changes to Naburn Weir

Naburn Weir

Cycle hub set to become Environment Agency floods showroom

The Environment Agency say they want to establish a permanent exhibition of flood defence works at the former cycle repair workshop in Wellington Row.

They say that the show room would be open “2 or 3” days a week

They have submitted a “change of use” planning application

The showroom would be located only metres away from a key flood defence gate that is closed when the Ouse threatens to overtop its banks

No immediate flooding fears in York despite heavy rain

York river level guages remain within normal limits despite recent heavy rain.

You can check river levels at the following web site http://www.gaugemap.co.uk/#!Map

Click to access river level guages

Click to access river level guages

Meanwhile the Environment Agency have confirmed details of the flood prevention project exhibitions that they plan for the City.

The exhibitions will take place on Friday and Saturday


York Flood Inquiry verdict not expected until next year

Floods cost City £3.3 million

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:

Blocked gulleys blamed for recent flooding in east York

click to access

We warned about false economies 4 years ago. click to access

A report into flash flooding in York has blamed it partly on lack of gulley cleaning.

This will come as little surprise to readers of these pages.

We said in 2012, when the then Labour controlled Council decided to end routine gully cleaning, that it was a false economy.

So it has proved to be.

Credit the present Council who have acted to increase the cleaning regime but not quickly enough to prevent flooding in some areas in June.

The Council report reveals that as many as 50% of drains that have been inspected have been found to be blocked. A number of Yorkshire Water maintained drainage and sewer pipes are also blocked.  

£125k in capital funding, for “drainage hotspots”, has been made available by the Council.

Foss barrier control room flooding – Inquiry report published

click to read

click to read

A report on events which led to the raising of the Foss barrier on Boxing Day last year – and the subsequent flooding of hundreds of York properties – has been published.

A copy can be downloaded by clicking here 

It is clear that the potential flooding of the control room was a major factor in the events of that day.

Water entered the supposed watertight building through a service tunnel which had been allowed to subside. The subsidence had caused waterproof seals to fail.

The report concludes with advice on how to prevent a repetition of the problems

Access openings between the building and the service tunnel should be sealed so that when water enters the service tunnel it cannot rise and flood the building. The drainage could be configured in a way which eliminates the need to pass through the perimeter of the building below flood level ie by having a small pumping system to pump it up and over the flood risk level. After adopting these remedial steps there will always be a residual risk of water entering the building because it is located below extreme river levels. This residual risk can be eliminated by relocating the water sensitive equipment above the flood risk level”.

The report was commissioned by the Environment Agency itself.

It pointedly failed to ask the consultants, who undertook the inquiry, to assess where responsibility for the maintenance failings rested (although it is pretty obvious).

We must now wait for the findings of the City Council appointed review to hold agencies and individuals to account.



£1.3 million flood relief fund – payment details emerging

Four months after the devastating flooding which hit the City on 26th and 27th December 2015, details are only now emerging of how the £1.3 million York Disaster (Flood) Fund is being spent.

Two ridings reprt 18th April 2016

Click to access

Although most affected residents and businesses have now moved back into their flood hit properties, it appears that only £160,000 has been paid out to victims.

Most of the money – which includes matching funding from the government – has come from charitable trusts with the rest coming from corporate donations, individual gifts and fund raising.

The Fund’s administrators – the Two Ridings  Community Foundation – have now published a FAQ summary on their web site.

The posting (right) explains who can apply, for what, and also reveals that making vulnerable buildings watertight (more resilient) could qualify for grant aid (on top of the £5000 already announced by the Council) while damage to vehicles and outbuildings won’t be funded.

Application forms can be downloaded via this link http://www.trcf.org.uk/

Meanwhile the Council has still not revealed details of when its Inquiry into the flooding will start (or even who the members of the Inquiry team will be).

Clearly a report – and most importantly action arising from its conclusions – is still several months away.

The one piece of good news is that the Environment Agency have announced details of additional flood prevention work that they intend to do in the City over the next few years.

A meeting earlier in the week heard that extra investment would include:

  • £45m additional funding for work in York which will see around 15 schemes at different locations throughout York to upgrade raised defences and provide a consistent standard of protection for the City. This will better protect over 2,000 properties.
  • This is in addition to the £10m that has already been committed for repairs and upgrades to the Foss Barrier where work is planned to start in early April and be complete by December 2017.