York & North Yorkshire

York flood inquiry calls for better public warning system

Properties in Huntington Road Image copyright AFP/Getty
Image caption The report said more than 600 properties were flooded in York in December 2015

A report into severe flooding in York in December 2015 has called for better warning systems to be put in place.

The York Independent Flood Inquiry investigated the reasons why more than 600 properties in the city flooded.

It highlighted issues over the suitability of the police command centre and problems in warning the public.

Recommendations include installing sirens and expanding the number of community flood wardens.

Following criticism from some members of the the public that they had not received updated flood warnings, the inquiry panel suggested the setting-up of an "opt-out" emergency system that would telephone all the homes and business in an area at risk of flooding.

The inquiry's chair Angharad Davies paid tribute to the "fortitude" of the people of York in dealing with the flooding.

Ms Davies said everybody in the city "had to work collectively to increase the resilience of residents and businesses so they are better prepared to recover more quickly from flooding".

'Not suitable'

She said: "We recognise the inevitability that York will flood again and any solutions need to be forward looking.

"They cannot simply address the current problems."

The Environment Agency had faced criticism from residents and politicians after hundreds of homes were flooded when the Foss Barrier was raised after water entered the control room.

The report said the decision by the EA to lift the barrier "was the best option available".

The inquiry added that the "decision had to be taken very quickly" and the EA "had no time to consult" other organisations.

The report said: "In future whenever possible, the EA should discuss decisions such as opening the Foss Barrier with their multi-agency partners."

The inquiry also concluded the Silver Command control centre set-up at Fulford Road Police Station was "not suitable" due to "limitations in space and IT facilities available".

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Foss Barrier was raised after water entered the control room

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