Rachael Maskell: ‘The barriers are holding, which is good news’

York Central MP Rachael Maskell at Tower Gardens this morning. Photograph: YorkMix
17 Feb 2020 @ 9.30 am
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York Central MP Rachael Maskell was out early this morning looking at the river levels.

She told YorkMix: “We think we’ve got about another half metre for the river to rise through the day.

“But the barriers from what I can see are holding, which is good news.

“People obviously need to keep themselves safe. That river’s incredibly dangerous. It’s contaminated as well. So don’t go near near the river.”

She described this morning as “that moment of anticipation. It’s waiting to see what happens later in the day.”

As regards the River Foss, the Foss Barrier and other defences were working “so people in that catchment should have a sigh of relief today”.

People are very stressed
Ms Maskell has been talking to residents in high-risk areas. “People are very stressed – the anticipation not knowing what’s coming,” she said.

“Some of the communications were a bit lagging – people were out buying pumps and sandbags, and then to find that a barrier appeared at the end of the road. So I think we can learn from some of that.”


She said people were rightly angry that resilience measures had not been put in place, four years after the Boxing Day floods.

  • My job when I go back is to put the pressure on government again. Things like insurance still needs sorting out for leaseholders and businesses.

    And there are other things that need putting in place – not least the upper catchment management, which will really stop the amount of water coming downstream in the first place.

And the MP praised York for working together during a tough week.

“I think the city’s come together incredibly well. The council, the Environment Agency, the police and other agencies working very closely, looking out for vulnerable individuals at this time.

“So I would say it’s been a good operation. And most importantly, the residents themselves, they’ve come out and supported one another and worked together in their communities to make sure everyone else is safe.”