Regarding the flooding in Gilberdyke, not only over the recent weeks, but something evidence suggests has been ongoing and getting steadily worse over the last 30 years or so. “I feel it is now time to look at a positive approach to permanently alleviate Gilberdyke’s flooding problems, as the effect of global warming increases the frequency”.
A great quantity of the recent floodwater was pumped through the foul water drainage system, which is not designed for or capable of moving large amounts of water quickly. This is one of the reasons many residents suffered with floodwater, and blocked drains for many days after the initial rainfall. Gilberdyke Primary School remained closed not because of direct flooding or damage - but simply because the toilets could not be flushed as a result of the foul water drains being full, not withstanding the Yorkshire Water pumping station working constantly for a number of days.
“Although Gilberdyke has surface water drainage problems within the village boundary resulting from dykes being blocked, some having been filled in by developers and householders, and houses built lower than the roads. The evidence shows that it doesn’t really matter what work is done to the surface water drains within the confines of the village, the water will not drain from the village to the River”.
The area south of the railway, including the dykes in front of the farms on Bellasize Lane, into which the surface water from the west side of Gilberdyke discharges were also found to be flooded, with water across the road in places. “Ironically at the same time the 3 large dykes running down to the River Ouse had a normal level of water at the river end, this raises the question of whether these dykes were not blocked or badly maintained (the evidence of the photographs below would indicate this may be the case). It was also noticeable that a number of fields were flooded in the Bellasize and Bennetland areas and south towards the river; therefore it is clearly not just householders who are suffering but also farmers who were estimated to have had 3,500 acres under water”.
Mr Robin Sweeting in last week’s letters section of the Goole Times raised an interesting point, with which I totally agree. “It is unacceptable for Gilberdyke residents to be knee deep in flood water within their homes, because the section where a major dyke enters the river, cannot be cleaned of silt build up for the sake of protecting some reed beds. If these reed beds are so precious - dig them up and move them or let Natural England and/or the Environment Agency come and explain to Gilberdyke residents exactly why not”!
I’m led to believe there is a Lower Ouse Internal Drainage Board proposal for improving the flow of surface water from Gilberdyke and the land south to the river that was generated over 10 years ago. This includes plans for a new cross dyke to bring the main dykes together, deepening and regrading of existing dykes, and the installation of a pumping station, similar to the one exiting at Yokefleet, to pump the water up and over into the river. The effect of this would be to ensure surface water drains quickly from Gilberdyke and the surrounding communities.
I would like to offer my total support for moving forward on this proposal, or a variation, as soon as possible. I have mentioned this to my ERYC colleagues who are supportive. There would appear to be two main issues in moving this forward, obtaining the landowners permission for the project and seeking funding. I am led to believe that the landowners would be receptive to the project; therefore the big issue would be the funding, which may not be so difficult, especially with the support of farmers and the community as a whole. An amount of say £1 million could be obtained if there is the will, and at this time there is no doubt a considerable amount of will.
To become reality this project must first have the support of the Lower Ouse Internal Drainage Board without which there would be no possibility of moving forward. The Drainage Board must then take a lead on this, working together with Environment Agency, the communities affected, and the local councillors, and MEPs to make this reality.
I have spoken to Local MP David Davis, who also supports this proposal saying, “This is a very interesting idea that I would be willing to support as part of a wider reaching strategy to address the issue of flooding in Howdenshire and across the East Riding of Yorkshire”