Staff at the Environment Agency have been repairing flood banks across York to make sure they are ready for the next downpour.
The Operations Delivery team has been working on five kilometres of flood bank at Clifton Ings and two kilometres of flood bank at Middlethorpe Ings close to York Crematorium.
They have been restoring the original height and profile of the flood banks after bad weather and flooding caused erosion along some stretches.
The Ings in York play a vital role in storing water from the River Ouse, and the banks are in place to make sure they don’t fill too quickly.
This summer sees a programme of maintenance work by the Operations Delivery team including grass cutting and tree clearance.
The work is carried out along rivers across North Yorkshire where the undergrowth is believed to be a flood risk.
Technical specialist Mark Fuller said: “All flood banks settle over time and we regularly survey the defences to see whether they fall below the expected standard. If they do, we then programme in the necessary repair work.
“The banks play a vital role in managing flooding because they temporarily hold back the water so that the storage areas are available when they are most needed.”
Environment Agency staff will be walking Yorkshire’s flood banks and defences this summer to check for any signs of deterioration.
The frequency of the inspections depend on how critical the bank is to protecting people and property. The most critical are inspected around twice a year.
Staff look for any damage such as erosion or rabbit and mole holes which can undermine the structure and cause it to fail.
Environment Agency officers in York have also been using state-of-the-art surveying technology called Lidar to identify potential weaknesses in its flood banks.
The data is gathered by using a plane to emit lasers which bounce off the ground and enable a national surveying team to calculate the lie of the land, and draw up maps.
They then send the maps to the officers in York who identify the flood banks and compare this LIDAR data with the heights that the embankments should be.
The Operations Delivery team, based in York, is responsible for 1475 kilometres of river in North Yorkshire and East Yorkshire, and it maintains 720 kilometres of flood banks and defences.
Officers have recently finished repairing 3.1 kilometres of flood bank at Bolton Ings at Bolton Percy near Tadcaster. Parts of the bank were washed away by flood water and officers have rebuilt it to the original height and shape.
The Operations Delivery team is the Environment Agency’s maintenance and construction workforce. The work is extremely varied and ranges from clearing debris from river banks to building and looking after the region’s flood defences.
The team is out every day, maintaining and improving Environment Agency structures and ensuring that they are fit for purpose. And when the worst happens, they are also in the front line of our incident response teams.