Monday, August 13, 2007

Gilberdyke Flood Meeting report

Further to the Flood Meeting held in Gilberdyke last Wednesday, 8th August 2007.

Many thanks to all those who attended and those who put their names forward to be part of a Parish Council Flood Action Group to deal with the whole flooding issue.

The meeting was always going to be emotional, with many Gilberdyke residents suffering the adverse effects, many having to move out whilst others electing to stay in their homes whilst repair work is carried out.

The East Riding of Yorkshire Council is asking all Ward Councillors and Parish Councils to report on the flooding in communities, and for suggestions as to what worked and what didn’t, what lessons can be learned, and what can be done to prevent a reoccurrence of the flooding. This will be one of the first tasks of the Flood Action Group.

During the recent flooding the area south of Gilberdyke and 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 found to be flooded, with water across the road in places.

“Ironically at the same time the 3 large dykes taking this water down to the River Ouse had a normal level of water at the river end, this raised the question of whether these dykes were not blocked or badly maintained. It was also confirmed 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 suffered but also farmers”.

A Lower Ouse Internal Drainage Board (LOIDB) proposal for improving the flow of surface water from Gilberdyke and the land south to the river was discussed at length. 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 have since spoken to the ERYC finance department regarding funding the Lower Ouse Internal Drainage Board proposal, and will have further discussions and meetings in the days and weeks to come. I realise the problems associated with getting water out of villages such as Gilberdyke is shared by other communities, the nearest being North Cave, where again the main water course from the village could not cope with the volume of water, with lack of maintenance being one of the factors”.

“It is acknowledged that to get water out of Gilberdyke in the future is a significant problem and must be the priority, without this being achieved very little effective work can be done in the village. But, once the water can flow freely from Gilberdyke, other work inside the village itself can be done to further alleviate the flooding problems”.

“This one proposal for Gilberdyke may well become part of a much larger flood defence project, therefore we should be mindful of working in isolation, but not put off doing as much as we can”.

The role of Natural England and the Environment Agency was also questioned with many residents and farmers feeling it unacceptable to be flooded within their homes and land, because the section where a major dyke enters the river cannot be cleaned of silt build up for the sake of protecting reed beds, water voles and great crested newts.

A report put out by the ERYC some 2/3years ago in response to a thorough investigation of Gilberdyke’s foul and surface water drainage by the Parish Council, Yorkshire Water, LOIDB, ERYC Highways, ERYC public health and some residents was also discussed. This report indicated numerous problems with the internal drainage system caused mainly by incorrectly potted dykes. Under riparian law the householders should be prepared to reclaim and maintain these. This is something the Action Group will also be looking into.

The impact of increased development and a perceived lack of local input into planning decisions were also raised. Last year Gilberdyke Parish Council sent out a simple letter seeking support for the Parish Council in opposing any further housing or industrial development in the village until such a time that the village infrastructure be improved, with the village drainage certainly being one of the major infrastructural concerns. At that time some 460 Gilberdyke residents from over 350 households responded of which 453 supported the Parish Council’s position, whilst only 7 residents did not.

“Rest assured the ERYC took note of the feelings of Gilberdyke’s residents last year, and I along with my fellow Howdenshire Ward Councillors will be continuing to make sure residents voices are heard on future development as well the overall flooding situation”.

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