Dr Therese Coffey, the Government Floods Minister, made a special visit to Tadcaster on Friday 25 Auigust, just two days after flash flooding hit the High Street.
The Minister was invited by Selby & Ainsty MP Nigel Adams so that she could see the progress made since the 2015 flooding but also to see why surface water flooding in the town continues to be a concern.
During the visit Dr Coffey met with Nicola Eades and David Bewley of the Flood Group.
David Bewley said, “While the recent flash flooding was a relatively minor incident we are very pleased that Dr Coffey was able to visit and see the progress being made and to understand the importance of addressing the drainage issue which was identified in the recent report by North Yorkshire County Council”.
The Flood Action Group explained how they had monitored the developing storm by watching it on weather radar maps. When it was clear that heavy rain was expected to fall in Tadcaster they deployed a large pump as a precautionary measure, the pump and hoses were set up and ready to be started within 10 minutes. The pump was deployed by a team of volunteer flood wardens who set up the pump and associated hoses down the street so that flood water could be pumped into the river.
- the event the heavy rain only lasted about 15 minutes and the surface water flooding on the High Street then drained away after reaching a maximum depth of 18 inches against one of the buildings.
Dr Coffey said, “This was an impressive performance by the volunteer flood action group. However it is worrying that a short duration storm should cause flooding in this way. I will be asking the drainage authority to further investigate and advise what action can be taken to reduce the risk on the High Street.“
The incident has further emphasised the importance of addressing the surface water drainage issue and Dr Coffey added “The River Wharfe level was very low under the recently rebuilt bridge, which is itself a superb achievement, but it was disappointing to hear that a short duration rainstorm should flood the street in the way it did”.
Nigel Adams MP said, “The events of December 2015 were a major tragedy for the town. The reconstruction of the bridge, retaining its historic features while making it wider and safer shows what can be achieved with speedy Government help. The Environment Agency will shortly consult on design options for improving the flood defences and I will be supporting them in making their application for funding."