MP calls on Government to plug flood defence funding gap
ANNE McIntosh is calling on the Government to plug the gap in funding of Pickering’s £2 million flood defence scheme.
The Ryedale MP believes there is a “compelling case” for the Government to contribute the £500,000 needed to cover the final costs of the Slowing the Flow Project and its plans to build a flood storage scheme at Newtondale, near Pickering.
“Already the project is bringing significant benefits to the town of Pickering,” said Miss McIntosh. “The building of mini-dams, the use of woody debris, the planting of trees and other such methods, working with nature has retained sufficient water to prevent any recent flooding to Pickering, in spite of significant rainfall since September.
“However, the main obstacle to completing the project, with the temporary storage of water in a reservoir, remains with a shortfall in funding of about £500,000. Ryedale District Council has come up trumps with a contribution of almost £1 million and North Yorkshire County Council has contributed £300,000.
“I believe there is a compelling case for the Government to make a contribution to ensure the project proceeds. There is a clear natural interest as set out in the Government’s Natural Environment White Paper and indeed the Water White Paper and Draft Water Bill which encourage such schemes to work more closely with nature in building flood defence measures.
“The Government is watching the Pickering Pilot Project closely too, as if it is successful, similar schemes can be rolled out across the country.”
Plans for the flood storage scheme, which will protect Pickering from everything up to a one-in-25 year flood, will be submitted to North Yorkshire County Council and the North Yorkshire Moors National Park Authority’s planning committees later this month.
The funding shortage is now the main stumbling block to whether the storage scheme will go ahead.
And Miss McIntosh believes timing is of the essence with any delays likely to further add to the building costs.
“The longer the Government delays bringing forward its reservoir safety guidance, which was due in 2012, the higher the cost of the Pickering Scheme will be. The reason for the original delay was because the civil engineer in charge refused to sign off the project as it caused a miniscule increased risk of flooding to some ten properties downstream.
“This advice is severely overdue and the delay could cause the cost of the scheme to escalate. Therefore I believe it is in the Government’s interest for this project to proceed and sooner rather than later.”
Miss McIntosh said she had written to Owen Paterson, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to ask for funding.
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Tuesday 21 May 2013
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