Following a couple of weeks of heavy rain problems with the City’s drainage systems have become more obvious. While most publicity has centred on roadside gullies, the lack of regular cleaning of channels in pedestrian areas, on footpaths and in car parks is also a concern.
As we reported earlier this month, the Council has discontinued the routine “emptying” of gullies. They rely on residents to report blockages. In turn, this depends on the Councils – sometimes creaking – customer contact systems.
As the photos show, even after the rains stops, it takes too long for some areas to drain.
The Council has in the past taken some action to alleviate longer term problems. The then LibDem led Council introduced almost a decade ago a programme aimed at dealing with blocked drainage pipes.
In some cases this meant digging out compacted earth while in others concrete run off had blocked some drains. Some roads had to be re-profiled to provide a better run off. Yorkshire Water – who are responsible for sewers – occasionally have to power wash out their systems, with carelessly discarded cooking fat often blamed for blockages
There has been a move away from non permeable surfaces with new parking areas on many estates now using a matrix style surface to allow natural soak away.
There have been no reports on the quality of drainage systems made to Council committees recently. Quality of service data is hard to come by.
A Freedom of information request has now been submitted to the Council asking about the number of outstanding drainage complaints and the number of known long term blocked gulleys where significant engineering work is required to remedy the problem.
The Council is being asked how much it will cost to clear blocked gulleys and the timetable for so doing.
The Council has 28 days in which to respond to the information request.
The Council has confirmed that it has reduced by nearly half the number of times that drainage gulleys are cleaned in the City.
There were approximately 20664 cleans last year compared to 38000 when the LibDems were in control of the Council.
The cuts are blamed by residents for increasing problems with ponding and flooding in some local streets.
River Ouse web cam Click to access latest information
A flood warning has been issued by the Environment Agency. River levels are not expected to increase to those encountered in 2012.
Detailed river levels can be found on the EA web site http://tinyurl.com/Ouse-catchment
The best indicator remains the real time CCTV camera which records river levels on Kings Staith.
There is a significant risk If the top of the no entry sign disappears under water!
The devastation caused by flooding in other parts of the country is likely to reopen the debate about whether the river Ouse should be dredged.
Although dredging might increase the river capacity (and speed) where the work could be completed there would be other implications. Not least amongst these are the fact that more water would arrive in greater volumes at vulnerable downstream locations.
Potentially this could mean more, rather than fewer, homes being flooded. There are also concerns about the impact that dredging can have on the foundations of bridges. on river banks and on wildlife habitats.
The policy introduced a few years ago – of planting near the upper reaches of rivers to help control the speed that water runs off the land – has merit, while the York Council is rightly making provision, in its forward budgets, for the improvement and maintenance of water courses.
Nevertheless the dredging arguments do now need to be revisited and we would like to see a committee set up to publicly consider all the issues involved.
The coalition government has allocated millions in funding towards improving one of York’s key arterial routes. It will pay for much needed flood prevention works, new signalisation and improved access at key junctions on the A19 near Fulford.
A19 closed near Fulford last winter
The £170 million government Pinch Point Funding was announced earlier this year and part of it is to be used to protect the A19 from any future closure, following an unusual series of flood incidents in 2012 which resulted in the main road closing on three separate occasions. In comparison to a total of five days over the previous four years.
York will receive approximately £2 million from the Department for Transport towards the cost of the £4.7m project which will help towards supporting local transport schemes that tackle congestion and support growth.
The remaining funding will be provided from the private sector and existing council transport budgets.
Key elements of the proposals are to introduce a new left turn free flow lane from A19 into the Designer Outlet Park&Ride; inbound bus priority lanes on the A19 between A64 and Germany Beck, and bus priorities at the Naburn Lane junction and an enhanced junction at the proposed Germany Beck development.
The scheme will complement and enhance the improvements planned to be provided as part of the Germany Beck development, which will create new access to the site and raise the height of the road to be above flood levels.
There will be consultation on the proposed scheme details and the aim is to start construction towards the end of 2014.