James Alexander criticises York flood defences delay
York's council leader has criticised the Environment Agency over a delay to planned flood defences in the city.
Eighty houses have flooded as the River Ouse peaked at more than 16ft (5m) on Thursday, 10ft (3m) above normal.
Labour councillor James Alexander said: "If we had the flood defences here in the first place we wouldn't have some of the flooding we've had."
Mark Scott, Environment Agency area manager, said: "We need to get everything right before we start."
Mr Scott added: "We'd like to apologise to residents who have been waiting for this scheme".
He hoped residents would agree everything had to be right before the agency started construction.
Mr Alexander was speaking near Leeman Road in the city where the government has approved funding for a £3.2m flood defence scheme.Protect 400 homes
He said he was "concerned" about the flood defences "not being here".
The Water End/Leeman Road scheme is designed to protect about 400 homes and businesses. In November 2009 the agency started to develop the scheme.
In 2011 the City of York Council stepped in with a £1m contribution to the scheme with £2.2m from the agency.
Mr Alexander said the agency was trying to take the council money and "give it to other areas outside York".
He said wrangling over the scheme and its specification meant the flood defences had not been built.
Mr Scott said: "We are hoping to start work in December this year as planned and to a very high specification."
The new scheme includes a brick flood wall, temporary removable defences, and increasing the size and height of some of the existing flood embankments.Additional financial support
Mr Scott added the agency would be meeting Mr Alexander to "discuss and allay his concerns".
Mr Alexander said he would be writing to the government to request additional financial support following the flooding in York.
He said when council budgets were being cut year on year it didn't have the resources for such "acts of God".
The council leader said he would also write to the Environment Agency to ask it not to reduce the amount of money allocated to the area's flood defence.
He has also had a meeting with the council's chief executive to coordinate the clear up in the city.