Measures will begin to be put in place in the coming weeks in Malton and Norton to provide greater protection from flooding and to enhance the towns’ ability to respond to severe weather.
The flood alleviation scheme is a joint project between North Yorkshire County Council and Ryedale District Council, with funding also coming from the York & North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership and the Environment Agency.
It will improve the pumping infrastructure in the towns and help the owners of up to 130 properties regarded as high-risk in Malton, Norton and Old Malton to add further protection to their homes and businesses through a property level resilience scheme.
This work follows the successful implementation of the Malton, Norton and Old Malton pump plan in the aftermath of the prolonged rain brought by Storm Christoph in January. That multi-agency operation to protect homes and businesses involved the deployment of up to 29 pumps on both sides of the River Derwent.
The plan was devised following major flooding in 2000 and the building of flood defences in 2004. It was first implemented in 2012.
The pump infrastructure to be installed will enhance existing protection by improving the speed, safety and efficiency of pump deployment. Infrastructure improvements will include permanent brackets, pipework and hard standing at various locations, including County Bridge, Tate Smith Yard and Old Malton.
County Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Access, said: “These infrastructure improvements are small, but they will make a significant difference. For example, the brackets and fixed pipework on County Bridge will enable quicker, more efficient deployment of the pumps and, importantly, make it safer for the operatives. The works as a whole will make the pump operation more practical, safer and more efficient.”
A Ryedale District Council spokesperson said: “We would like to thank all of the response agencies for working around-the-clock to help to control the recent flooding situation, as well as local citizens who showed great resilience and community spirit.
“We are pleased this partnership project is under way. It will deliver infrastructure improvements to support the effectiveness of the Malton, Norton and Old Malton pump plan and provide funding for alterations to protect high-risk homes.
“Whilst this long-planned initiative will contribute to flood alleviation, Ryedale District Council will continue to liaise with other agencies about other action that might be needed.”
Norton division county councillor Cllr Keane Duncan said: “The recent flood event was a very tense situation for many residents. There was grave concern on the ground, but the worst case scenario that had been feared was thankfully averted thanks to the amazing work of the multi-agency response.
“This latest work, to protect homes and assist in providing an even better local response, is very welcome. It shows just how much a partnership approach can achieve, and paves the way for further potential steps in future. Whatever we do can only be achieved by all agencies working together.”
Cllr Lindsay Burr, county councillor for Malton, said: “Flooding has and will always be a major concern in Malton, Norton and Old Malton, and at the bottom of Castlegate, causing County Bridge to close, which is a serious issue. All investment in flood alleviation, now and in the future for the benefit of all residents, is to be welcomed.”
The property level resilience scheme entitles targeted households to up to £5,000 for approved alterations. Those in the scheme are being contacted and offered a variety of measures to protect their homes. These include flood door barriers, airbricks that close automatically to keep out water, non-return valves on drains to prevent floodwater or sewage backing up and waterproof copings on walls.
Residents are being reassured that the measures are discreet and will not affect the appearance of their properties. For example, flood door barriers only need to be in place when there is a risk of flooding.
Cllr Mackenzie added: “We can never eliminate the risk of flooding entirely, but we can help reduce the risk of water getting into your home and lessen its impact if it does.”
All the partners continue to discuss further actions following the most recent flooding incident with a view to understanding the viability and feasibility of other potential solutions to mitigate flood risks and the impact on communities.
York & North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership allocated £500,000 from the Government’s Local Growth Fund towards the scheme.
David Dickson, chair of the York & North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership Infrastructure & Joint Assets Board, said: “Resilience to flooding is a vital component for enabling economic growth. We’re pleased to see the continued progress of the scheme.”
As another measure to help reduce flooding in the area, Yorkshire Water has commissioned an extensive survey to understand how water interacts with Malton and Norton’s drainage systems. It is hoped this survey will build on the work that has already been done and provide further clarity on the complex drainage issues as well as sustainable solutions for managing groundwater and surface water in the future. Although the survey is commissioned by Yorkshire Water, the rest of the flood partnership authorities will contribute to give a coordinated approach to understanding the flooding risks.