Options prepared to prevent flooding in Wensleydale and Swaledale

• Sandbags are put in place to protect property in Grinton after the 2019 floods.

Residents of Dales communities affected by severe flooding are being invited to a series of drop-in sessions to discuss options to mitigate future problems.

Wensleydale and Swaledale experienced destructive flooding in July 2019 when a storm brought a prolonged, intense burst of rainfall.

Since then, North Yorkshire County Council says its flood risk management team has worked with representatives of Leyburn, Bellerby, Gayle and Hawes, Bainbridge, West Witton, Redmire, Spennithorne, Reeth and Fremington and the communities of Arkengarthdale to develop high-level mitigation options.

The council said officers engaged through parish councils to gain local knowledge of the issues.

A range if options have now been prepared.

These options are varied and dependent on location.

They include property flood resilience, natural flood management, improved maintenance arrangements, for example trash screens and access, drainage improvement and designing for exceedance options.

Cllr Don Mackenzie, executive member for access, said: “After the flooding in 2019, we launched an investigation and subsequently published a report that recommended working with the affected communities to improve flood forecasting and resilience and to explore options to reduce the risk of flooding.

“In 2020, we successfully bid for £52,800 in additional funding from the York and North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership to progress the recommendations in the report.

“I am pleased that this work has reached the stage where we can now present a suite of options to the people affected by those floods.”

County Councillor Karin Sedgwick, who represents the Middle Dales, added: “The additional funding enabled the council to expand beyond the geographical area immediately affected by the flood and consider high-risk locations across Wenselydale, Swaledale and Arkengathdale, where funding from external partners could not be attracted before.

“This enabled the Upper Dales Flood Feasibilities Study to develop options for locations that have historically been subject to flooding.”

County Councillor Yvonne Peacock, who represents the Upper Dales, said: “We are keen to present these options to the people immediately affected by the flooding, including residents, business owners, land owners and managers.

“Their understanding and buy-in is critical, and the sessions are an opportunity for officers to hear feedback on the options.

“We want to offer our communities increased resilience and preparedness. I encourage anyone with an interest to drop in and talk to officers to find out about the options and to give your views.”

Officers will present the options and answer questions at:

Thornborough Hall, Leyburn

  • Monday 31 January, noon to 5pm
  • Tuesday 1 February, 9am to 1pm and 3pm to 5pm
  • Wednesday 2 February, noon to 4pm
  • Thursday 3 February, 11am to 5pm
  • Friday 4 February, 9am to 2pm

Reeth Village Hall

  • Wednesday 2 February, 9am to 1pm

Visitors will see displays of the options and supporting information. There will also be a demonstration of flood resilience measures that could benefit individual homes and businesses.