Farmer says that drainage is the way to halt flooding

John Hicks of Cawton  highlights draining issues on his farm .Picture 131036a

John Hicks of Cawton highlights draining issues on his farm .Picture 131036a

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A farmer believes that “drainage not storage” is the key to protecting Ryedale from future flooding.

John Hicks, who is also a member of Ryedale District Council, voted against the decision to give nearly £1 million of council cash towards the Slowing the Flow Project’s key proposal to build a reservoir on land above Pickering earlier this year.

Once built, engineers say the reservoir will store flood water and feed it slowly down the river and through Pickering, avoiding a steady torrent of water into the town and protecting it from everything up to a one in 25 year flood.

Instead Mr Hicks, who lives at Cockpit Farm, Cawton, says the Environment Agency and its partners should follow the lead of the farming community and look at regularly clearing silt from rivers and tending to the riverbanks - something that had been done in previous generations.

He admits he is “incensed” at the plans of the Slowing the Flow Project and said: “I don’t think it will do any good. What happens when the reservoir is full? What protection have we got then? All it will do is alter the timing of when the water goes down to Pickering.”

He added: “What I think needs to be done is what I have done on my own land at my own expense.”

A three mile stretch of water on his land recently flooded so Mr Hicks and his neighbour took matters into their own hands by using a digger to clear silt from the riverbed and pull out bushes that had grown into the bank.

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