Seal of approval after bad weather tests new defences

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The flood storage reservoir on the River Laver has been completed, the Environment Agency has announced.

The reservoir is part of the £14.4million flood defence scheme to reduce the risk of flooding to 548 homes in and 96 commercial properties in Ripon.

Engineers for the Environment Agency have now confirmed the reservoir near Birkby Nab Farm is now fully functional and it was put to the test during the recent bad weather.

The storage area has the capacity to hold up to 1.5 million cubic metres of flood water, the equivalent of 600 Olympic swimming pools - this will enable the walls and embankments in Ripon city centre to be up to a metre lower than they would have been previously.

Before the new defences were built, some homes in Ripon had as much as a 10 per cent chance of flooding in any one year.

When complete the scheme will reduce this to a one per cent chance.

Ripon is situated where the rivers Skell, Laver and Ure meet and the city has a long history of flooding. Over the past 12 months, work has been carried out at Fisher Green, Borrage Lane, North Bridge and Alma Weir.

At Fisher Green new one metre-high earth embankments and gabion walls up to four metres high have been built, and at Borrage Lane new flood defences have been built behind 15 properties to create a continuous line of defence. At North Bridge, new earth embankments have been built up to four metres high, sections of the road have been raised and two flood arches under the bridge have been cleared of debris.

The height of the existing Alma Weir has been lowered by about one metre. The final stages of work on the river upstream is expected to be finished later this month.

Environment Agency project manager Tim Cobb said: “It’s been fantastic to get the storage reservoir officially finished.

“It is such a vital part of the flood scheme that will reduce the risk of flooding in Ripon.

“We hope residents can sleep easier knowing that it is now fully operational.

“We’re hoping to get the last pieces of work around the weir finished in December so the residents of Ripon can start the new year with a finished flood scheme.”