The pioneering “Slow the Flow” flood water gathering project currently being built north of Pickering will be highlighted at the House of Commons today.
It is expected to be put forward as a good example of good environmental practice to help fight flooding by MP Anne McIntosh at the Defra Rural Affairs and Environment Select Committee which she chairs.
Ms McIntosh, MP for Thirsk and Malton, said the cross-party committee will be taking evidence on dredging of water courses in the wake of the devastating floods in the South West of England.
“We shall be seeking to press home how important dredging can be in helping flood defences and the Pickering scheme is a fine example of holding excessive water to prevent it flooding such towns as Pickering. I believe it can be used in other areas because we are working with nature.”
The top-level committee will be addressed by drainage experts from the Chartered Institute of Water Management on how farmland can be protected and MPs will discuss the best ways to spend available funding.
Ms McIntosh said there were currently a number of organisations involved in flood defence schemes, including the Environment Agency, Regional Flood Defence Committee, drainage boards and local authorities and she believed their efforts needed to be co-ordinated.
“Public money can go much further by opting for ‘softer’ flood defence schemes such as Pickering,” she added.
But it was sometimes a case of persuading those in areas prone to flooding, added Ms McIntosh who cited the Riverside Mews area of Thirsk which has suffered several floods in the past, but where residents would prefer to combat flooding as opposed to storing the water upstream.
Businesses in Thirsk’s Finkle Street area were “desperately worried” about the flood risk, but she added, there is a scheme “on the table.”
The Pickering scheme, being built near Newbridge, is costing a fraction of the original flood defence project for the town, which was costed at some £7 million several years.
It was abandoned because of the cost, in favour of the new plan which will see excess water from the moors harnessed in bunds and on a greenfield site.
Construction work at Newtondale said to be going well with the bund still on course to be completed this summer.
It will increase protection for Pickering from everything up to 1 in 25 year flood events, but not save the town from bigger floods such as in 2007.
*Meanwhile Ms McIntosh, who was de-selected by the 560 members of the Constituency Conservative Association, in a shock vote last month, has vowed to continue to fight and says she will be putting her name forward to the association to be considered as the party’s candidate for the May 2015 election.
With a majority at the last election of some 11,000, the 59 year-old barrister believes she has wide spread support among the constituency’s 77,000 electorate.
Ms McIntosh is seeking to have an open primary meeting at which all the public can be involved and vote on whether she should be the Conservative candidate but this is unlikely to be held until the early summer, after the Euro Elections in May.
“My aim now is to help our MEP Timothy Kirkhope to be re-elected,” she said.