York flooding UPDATE at 4:00pm 16th February 2020

Local gullies and drainage ditches seem to be coping well with surface water in York.

Acomb Wood

River levels are high but are not expected to peak now until late on Monday.

Meanwhile the York Council Leader Keith Aspden has issued a statement .

With the news that river levels are increasing, I wanted to email to provide an update on the impact of Storm Dennis in York, and to reassure residents that a wide-range of actions are being taken, both by the Council and key partners, to ensure the impact to the city and our communities is kept to a minimum.

The Environment Agency (EA) has confirmed levels on the River Ouse in York are forecast to be close to the levels in 2015. Current forecasts from the EA are showing that river levels could reach between 4.8 and 5 metres on the morning of Tuesday 18 February. However, conditions remain unsettled, with further rain forecast over the next 48 hours, and this could result in changes to the levels and peak timings. The Environment Agency river forecasters will continue to monitor the situation 24/7 and provide further updates.

The Council has spent Friday and Saturday strengthening the city’s flood defences and today we will be helping residents in the most ‘at risk’ locations with the provision of sandbags to protect their homes and businesses. Local Liberal Democrat Councillors have also been out working with local communities to ensure precautions are taken and vulnerable residents are provided support. We will continue to make preparations to keep our fantastic city open.

With the uncertainty over weather conditions, we ask that people continue to keep an eye out for the latest information and alerts from the Environment Agency, which provides river levels for the next 36 hours in York, and to look out for friends and neighbours who may need support. Above all, please stay well away from the rivers and flood water. I have copied below some useful information and links. For the latest information and advice visit: www.york.gov.uk/flood.

The Liberal Democrats in York have long campaigned to secure better flood defences for York and since the Boxing Day floods of 2015, a number of flooding schemes have been given the green light. However, far more needs to be done and further action is needed to build in the latest in flood prevention technology across the entire city. I will continue to make the case to the new Government and request that immediate action is taken to aid affected communities across our city.

Finally, I would like to thank all community volunteers, staff, and key services who are working tirelessly to keep York safe and open for all everyone.


Deep water
River Ouse near Naburn

Defences to remain in place this weekend ahead of Storm Dennis

City of York Council will be keeping all temporary measures in place and will be monitoring all flood defences ahead of Storm Dennis, which is expected this weekend.

The following flood defences will remain in place in line with the council’s flood plan throughout this week as teams assess the potential impacts of Storm Dennis over the weekend.

These include:

  • Flood signage has been deployed
  • New A19 defences were successful and kept this main route into York open
  • B1222 was closed due to flood water
  • Bus routes diversions are in place for Skeldergate, Acaster Malbis and Naburn
  • Clementhorpe, Tower Gardens, Peckitt Street and Tower Place temporary defences put in place
  • St George’s field and Esplanade car-park were closed with all others remaining open
  • Rowntree Park was closed.

It is unlikely that the riverside paths will be fully accessible but they will be cleansed after river levels return to 2.5m.

Following on from Storm Ciara, the River Ouse peaked at 4.35m (0.85m lower than the 2015 peak) at 6am on 11 February. No properties have flooded internally and defences installed since 2015 have been operating effectively.

Stay up-to-date with the latest storm information related to York at www.york.gov.uk/FloodUpdate11022020

Cllr Paula Widdowson, Executive Member for Climate at City of York Council, said:

“I’d like to thank all our staff and key services, such as the Environment Agency and emergency services, who have worked round the clock to ensure York remains open and safe for all our residents and visitors.

“We’ll be keeping a close watch on rainfall and wind strength over the coming days and into the weekend, with Storm Dennis forecast to arrive on Saturday 15 February, with heavy rain and strong winds.  The council will work with partners to take action should river levels rise again.

“River levels are likely to rise over the weekend and into early next week. So, all temporary measures will be kept in place and monitored during this period.

“We have an exciting weekend of events taking place here in York, including the much loved JORVIK Viking Festival, which has announced new venues to avoid potential damage from the storm. We look forward to welcoming lots of residents and visitors to our beautiful city this weekend!”

Hydro electric power generation scheme at Naburn set to be approved

The Councils planning committee is being recommended to approve an application which would see York see its first modern hydro electric power generation on the river Ouse.

The generators would be sited near Naburn Lock.

The proposal comprises two Archimedes screw turbines, a multi-species fish pass, a turbine house building, hydraulic channels, trash screening and access improvements. The scheme is expected to generate a peak power output of less than 500kW and an average annual energy production of 1.2 GWh. The applicant states that this is sufficient to power around 310 homes and provides an effective CO2e saving of around 620 tonnes per year.

The intake would be situated within the island Application Reference Number: 18/02552/FUL Item No: 4b bank just upstream of the weir, with water passing through coarse trash screening before arriving at the sluice gates and turbine house. The screw turbines would discharge into an outfall channel that re-joins the main river just downstream of the weir. A new fish pass will be constructed along the left-hand side of the hydropower scheme.

Naburn Lock is located on the River Ouse in a rural location to the south of Naburn village. The construction of the locks took place in 1757 and 1888 and has created an island upon which is located the workshops, stores and offices associated with the operation and maintenance of the lock. There was formerly a water mill on the island (constructed between 1813 and 1817) which fell out of use around 1955 and was demolished in 1958.

The locks themselves are listed at Grade II (“Old and New Lock”). Directly to the east lies the Naburn Banqueting House, a vacant Grade II listed building, together with the lock keeper’s house. Access to the site is along a single track road from Naburn Lane, which also serves the Naburn Lock caravan park, located to the east.

Naburn Lock is accessible to members of the public and there is a car park and information board at the end of the access road.

The application will be determined on 16th January

Tree may be a hazard if Ouse floods

A self seeded tree on the banks of the Ouse near Lendal Bridge is causing concern.

As well as potentially destabilising the paved bank, (the tree seeded through a crack in the surfacing several years ago) there are concerns that the branches could cause a build up of rubbish during periods of flooding.

We have asked the Council to remove it.

NB. There is a major opportunity for additional tree planting between the Ouse and the railway line nearer to Leeman Road

New river safety information pack launched for schools

A new river safety resource pack for schools has launched this week, having been developed to help reach every child in every school and build an early understanding of the risks of open water.

It’s also been endorsed by a York headteacher who saved a drowning man from the frozen Ouse in 2010.

One of the priorities of the council-commissioned River Safety Action Plan (RoSPA) is to improve education about river safety. Following a campaign devised by York St John University’s Students Union, supported by the partnership, the council has also developed a new information and resources pack for use by schools across the city.

York river deaths report makes sober reading

Hot weather attracts more to river plunge

Man jump York Bridge


A report to a Council meeting next week, from the Safer York Partnership, confirms that there have been 24 deaths by drowning in York’s’ rivers over the last 15 years.

There were more deaths in the river Foss (14) than the river Ouse (10)

Of 6 deaths in the Ouse in the City centre area,  4 have been treated as accidental.

The report comes at a time when many young people are risking their lives by jumping off City centre bridges (see above).

The report says,

“Between 1999 and April 2014 there have been 24 deaths connected to rivers within the York district. Of the 24 deaths that have occurred 10 of them went into the River Ouse in York and 14 of them went into the River Foss in York.

Of these 10 deaths connected to the River Ouse, 4 of them did not enter the river in the City Centre and 6 of them did enter the river in the City Centre.

Of these 6 deaths that were within the city centre connected to the River Ouse; 2 are believed to have entered the river accidentally; 2 are believed to have committed suicide and 2 climbed barriers to jump in and drowned accidentally.

Between May 2013 and April 2014 there were approximately 35 other reported incidents to North Yorkshire Police that were connected to the river that involved some from of possible harm.

This figure is likely to be an underestimate due to difficulties in data retrieval and classification. The following are known about these incidents;

  • 4 incidents involving falls in to the river;
    • 20 incidents involving swimming in the river;
    • 11 incidents involving threatening to jump in the river;
    • Approx 1/3rd of incidents involved people under the age of 18;
    • There is no significant pattern by hour of the day;
    • Incidents are reported all year round but peak in July / August;
    • Reported incidents are mainly on the Ouse river;
    • Reported incidentsareatmanydifferent locationsontheriver,withkey locations being Lendal Bridge and Scarborough Bridge”.