Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The disappearance of Gilberdyke's dykes

Flooding in Gilberdyke

The recent rainfall has caused numerous problems for Howdenshire residents from, Aughton in the North, through Holme on Spalding Moor, Bubwith and Wressle to Gilberdyke, North Cave and Blacktoft in the South.

Curiously the River Ouse was not particularly high at noon today (26th June) and one of the large commissioner dykes was not flowing particularly fast at the river end, but at the other end of these dykes many parts of Gilberdyke are under anything up to 300mm of surface water. I remember when growing up in the area the dykes were regularly cleaned each spring by the local farmers, my grandfather was fond of the saying ‘February fill dyke, March muck ‘em out’. But where are those dykes now? Developers or residents have filled in many, and of those that do remain they are seldom ‘mucked out’. So perhaps we should heed the warnings of the past two days, and have the original dykes reopened and those dykes that still remain ‘mucked out’

To compound the situation of this surface water has also been contaminated with sewage, as the Yorkshire Water sewage pumping station does not appear able to cope with the extra loading resulting from surface water entering the system.

I seem to recall residents of Gilberdyke being told by Yorkshire Water that the system could cope with the present demand, also for increased housing and to still have slack in the system - based on the evidence of yesterday and today, perhaps the Company would like to reconsider?


Anonymous said...

Interesting point Paul, I also recall Yorkshire Water saying the new system could cope with surface water in Gilberdyke. Why don't Yorkshire Water ever comment when planning applications are submitted? Want to go there Paul?

Paul Robinson said...

Good question... I have asked this myself many times and have yet to receive an answer that I'm 100% happy with. Certainly in Gilberdyke I've never been convinced that the quantity of surface water entering the system is ever factored into the equation on which Yorkshire Water base their comments.

Anonymous said...

From Paul Thompson (Main Road)
I sent this to the Environmental Agency - I'm sure it's a wider issue than just main road.

For the attention of Sue O’Neil.
Ridings Area Flood Defence Manager.

Cc Tony Grice (Area Environmental Manager East)

Dear Sirs.
I realise your offices must be rushed off your feet at the moment, however we seek your advise or intervention.

During the severe weather on 25th/26th June 2007 about 6 original village houses in Gilberdyke were severely affected by rising waters on the Main Road (B1230) near to the BT telephone exchange. The main reason for the rising waters was due to the low to nil maintenance of the Dykes on the adjoining farm land. We discovered that the main covered pipe that the open Dykes lead into (traversing the farmland) was not flowing into the main Dyke leading into the Humber/Ouse. Due to this blockage the rising water levels from the open Dyke and fields then flooded into the back gardens etc and a few houses were flooded from the back as well as the front of the properties.
The local Farmer did supply a high powered Honda pump which kept the Dyke manageable during the night. Then on Tuesday 26th June he worked all day re-routing the Dyke into the main Southerly Dyke which drains into the river. However, this surely is a temporary fix and the main pipes and Dykes must be regularly maintained.
In addition to this we regularly get blockages to the sewage due to the heavy work load of the system with the advent of new housing estates being built but the system not being modernised to cope with the increase in population.
My question is how do we get the local farm land (and sewage) system to be properly maintained particularly the Dykes so that the risk to flooding of this nature is reduced.
We would really appreciate your help and would welcome a visit from you to see the problem first hand.

Paul Robinson said...

Thanks for that Paul....You raise some interesting points, and it's great to see the local farmer working to help you through the crisis. We have to learn from all of this and the key point you raise is the maintenance of the dykes - which must be addressed once it becomes reasonably practicable.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Paul R. More stuff on Dykes
From Paul Thompson (Main Road Gilberdyke)

If in doubt and the Dyke is backing onto your property then clean it your self or get help from the local farmer. That's what we did all weekend just gone.

Common Questions
Q. I have a dyke by my property - who owns it?
A. There are numerous possibilities as to the ownership of a specific dyke. On the whole they are generally not conveyed in house deeds, so it may be a surprise to find that you may in fact be partly responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of this watercourse. There are four ways that dyke ownership may go:

1. The dyke may belong to the local internal drainage board. If the dyke is relatively large and is well kept, this may well be the case; however, if you are unsure, consult them.
2. The dyke may belong to your neighbour, ask them to check their deeds.
3. The dyke may belong to you, check your deeds.
4. If the answer is NO to 1 - 3 the dyke may be the joint responsibility between yourself and your neighbour; If the dyke has not been identified as belonging to any party, but is on your boundary, the common law approach is a riparian ownership.

Q. What is a riparian ownership?
A. Riparian means 'of or on riverbank'. In reference to ownership issues, any property boundary, which ends at a dyke and the ownership of the watercourse is undefined. Then the land owner either side will be deemed as a joint or riparian owner. Even if you have a boundary fence or hedge between you and the dyke, you will be seen as having a joint responsibility under common law.

Q. I want to fill a dyke. How do I go about doing this?
A. First of all, DO NOT just go ahead and fill the dyke. This is not only an issue which may cause severe drainage problems, even flooding; but is illegal under both the Public Health Act 1936 and the Land Drainage Act 1991.

You must contact the local District Council and the relevant Authorities.

Q. I am only creating an access to the road, do I need to fill in an application form on such a small section?
A. Yes, under the Public Health Act 1936, this is still an alteration being made to a watercourse and may affect the flow of the dyke.
Remember, if you are creating a new access, you must also get Planning Permission to do so.