Pressure continues over flood scheme

PRESSURE is mounting to scrap the proposed £2 million flood project which has repeatedly been described as a waste of taxpayers’ money.

A public meeting is set to be held in Market Weighton next week to discuss the controversial plans by the Environment Agency (EA) who intend to splash the money on a defence scheme at Mill Beck in the town.

However, local residents and councillors continue to voice their disapproval, saying a devastating flood in that area of the town is a one in 10,000 year occurrence, and feel the money would be better spent improving the drainage in the town centre, which is already prone to flooding.

Mayor of Market Weighton, Councillor Peter Hemmerman is leading the protests. He is unhappy that a series of questions he sent to the EA remain unanswered, and has sought the advice of an independent flood expert.

Coun Hemmerman, who has questioned the EA’s calculations, said: “I believe that the case for continuing with the project is not proven and that there is insufficient hard data to justify the opinions of the consultants, for they are only opinions.

“I think a great many people are still concerned about the waste of money this project will lead to without any tangible benefit and will do nothing to address the real flood problem we have.

“Feelings are still running high with me - if the EA get away with it here they will continue finding other sites around the country of a similar nature to throw away money on to justify their position.

“At a time of government job cuts, spending cuts and the like, the EA can obtain millions to spend on what is nothing more than a theory, expounded by multinational consultants who are paid to do this.”

Mill Beck flows into Market Weighton through the football pitch off Goodmanham and the Monkey Run where, during heavy rainfall, flood water is held back in this area.

The EA says this restricts the volume of water flowing into Market Weighton and helps to reduce the possibility of flooding from the drainage system.

Because it acts in this way, they class the site as a flood storage reservoir and claim they have a legal responsibility under the Reservoir Act 1975 to make sure it is safe.

In response, Coun Hemmerman has always maintained that a catastrophic one-in-10,000-year flood would sink the new defences anyway, only adding to what he sees are many existing flaws.

He also leads the calls for the money to spent on improving the town centre drainage, which continually fails to cope during heavy downpours.

Manhole covers have been known to burst and raw sewage has regularly spilled out into streets and residents’ gardens.

Coun Hemmerman says overdevelopment of the town without consideration for drainage is to blame.

Meanwhile, he is calling on residents to attend the public meeting at the community next Wednesday, 13 July, starting at 7.30pm