York & North Yorkshire

Storm Ciara: York flood defences hold as river peaks

Flood in York
Image caption Riverside paths and properties were affected by high river levels through the city centre

Flood defences in York have passed their first major test since the Boxing Day floods of 2015.

The Environment Agency said the improvements made since then, including a £38m upgrade of a major barrier, had performed well.

The River Ouse peaked at 4.35m (14.2ft) above normal following the heavy rainfall associated with Storm Ciara.

It's the highest level since 2015, when it reached 5.2m (17ft) above normal.

Martin Slater, from the Environment Agency, said: "It is a test. We've been improving the defences, not only the new barrier and pumping station at the Foss, but also the flood walls that we've increased the height of.

"Everything is operating ok so far."

It was the failure of the barrier, situated where the River Foss drains into the Ouse, in 2015 which resulted in 600 properties flooding in the city.

The barrier is designed to prevent the Ouse forcing water back up the Foss and it also uses pumps to transfer water from the Foss into the Ouse.

It has since undergone a £38m upgrade.

Mr Slater said it was pumping 30 tonnes of water per second from the River Foss into the River Ouse.

He said three flood warnings were still in place in the city and people should "remain vigilant".

Flood warnings also remain in place for villages along the Ouse south of York.

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