Flood storage area north of York would ‘protect hundreds of city homes’

The flood storage area would be on land in the foreground of this image. Strensall is behind. Photograph © Google Street View

A scheme to create a flood storage area near a village outside York will be submitted to council planning officers.

The Environment Agency will submit plans for the project – which could see land near Strensall store up to 800,000 m3 of water (175m gallons) from the River Foss – in October.

Land to the north east of the village would be used to create a flood storage area that could slow the flow of flood water and reduce the risk of flooding in York.

The plan aims to protect 490 homes between Strensall and The Groves area.


Project manager Richard Lever said:

  • Flood storage areas help to slow the flow by temporarily holding back flood water, helping to reduce peak flows in the river and therefore reducing flooding downstream.

    These areas are not like reservoirs and do not store water permanently. They are designed to be dry in normal weather conditions and only fill up for short periods during large flood events.

    Unlike other physical flood defences, a flood storage area can be built at some distance from the communities they protect and therefore have minimal impacts during construction and operation.

Good for wildlife

The River Foss floods in December 2015. Photograph: Nigel Holland
Mr Lever added that the plans could also boost wildlife: “This scheme will facilitate the growth of valuable wetland habitat, create space for local wildlife and help improve water quality downstream.

“Materials for building the embankment for the storage area will be taken from within the site, creating pits which fill with water and act as permanent shallow ponds.”

“We are in conversation with Natural England and Yorkshire Wildlife Trust to consider other environmental benefits the scheme may provide and how we might incorporate these into the design of the scheme.”

River Foss storage area location map

The organisation is also investigating whether material on site, such as clay, could be used to build the embankment – reducing the amount that would need to be transported.

It adds that the plans mean less disturbance, fewer road closures and reduced construction costs.

A planing application will need approval from both City of York and Ryedale District councils. If all goes to plan, work would start in spring 2020.

Residents are invited to find out more at drop in sessions between 2pm and 7pm at Strensall Village Hall on October 1 and Living Word Church on Huntington Road on October 8.

For more visit consult.environment-agency.gov.uk.