News / 18th March 2020
Elvington Flood Defences
Elvington has suffered historically from flooding, with recent events occurring in March 1999, November 2000, December 2002 and January 2003.
The most significant of these being the event of November 2000 when 10 properties were flooded directly and Elvington's main street was impassable for 19 consecutive days.
The onset of flooding in the village occurred at those events with a 1 in 1 and 1 in 7 year probability of occurrence, for the Main Street and the adjacent properties respectively.
As a consequence of the flooding of Main Street, 120 properties located around the village area were effectively cut off to vehicular movements, including the emergency services.
As such this placed the residents of these isolated properties at significant risk with regards to their health and safety and severely restricts their ability to go about their daily lives.
The flooding mechanism at Elvington directly relates to high flows in the River Derwent. In essence, elevated river levels in the Derwent 'back-up' Elvington Beck, an ordinary water course that runs through the centre of the village, forcing water out of channel and thus ultimately into properties.
The City of York Council undertook an initial investigation of the available alleviation measures in early 2004, with two main options coming through.
The initial option involving the construction of a flood embankment, flap valve and isolating pen stock, to protect against reverse flows from high River Derwent water levels.
The embankment would protect against a1 in 100 year flood event from the Derwent. However, a small element of risk would remain if high levels in the Derwent were to coincide with heavy localised rain fall.
These second option included the embankment but with the addition of a pumping station to deal with the residual flows in Elvington Beck.
After the full economic analysis of the two alternatives, undertaken by the City of York Council and subsequently David Noble Associates (as commissioned by Elvington Parish Council), the preferred option was to go ahead with the construction of the basic embankment including the flap valve and penstock.
Elvington Parish Council commended this preferred option to the Yorkshire Regional Flood Defence Committee, at their April 2005 meeting. It was the intention of for the scheme to attract Local Levy funding due to the fact that the low priority score meant that the scheme fell beneath Defra funding requirements.
The bid was successful and Â£221,000 from the Local Levy budget was approved for the design and construction of the embankment, culvert and penstock. As a part of RFDC approval recommendations it was suggested that the Environment Agency be bought in to facilitate the construction phase of the project, due to their expertise and experience in this variety of work.
The project was successfully passed through the Environment Agencies internal approval process in June 2005.
Subsequent to gaining approval a number of investigations had been completed including ecological and archaeological surveys, a hydrological review and site and geological investigation. English Nature approval was obtained and planning approval gained in September 2006.
Following the successful bid for funding from the YRFDC the parish council set about raising funds for the pumping station element of the works. Pledges from individuals and local businesses, a National Lottery grant, a loan taken out by the villagers and a grant from York Council came in at almost Â£140,000.
This lead to the City of York Council developing the additional works involved with the construction of a pumping station as an add-on to the flood defence embankment and culvert works, which dovetail completely with the Environment Agency's scheme.
Following a construction phase that lasted nearly two years, the defences were operational in time for Christmas 2007. Since then the scheme has been in action through a number of flood events, offering increased protection to the village of Elvington.
Future maintenance of the embankment, culvert and its associated penstock and flap valve will be undertaken by the Environment Agency. The pumping station will be operated and maintained by the Ouse & Derwent Internal Drainage Board, giving the villagers of Elvington ongoing peace of mind.