Slowing the flow in the rivers Ouse and Foss; a long-term plan for York

Closed 19 Jun 2018

Opened 8 May 2018

Results updated 21 Aug 2018

Summary of consultation responses

This report provides a summary of the consultation Slowing the flow in the rivers Ouse and Foss; a long-term plan for York. The aim of this document is to explain why and how we ran the consultation as well as summarising the responses that we received and what action we will be taking as a result.


Published responses

View submitted responses where consent has been given to publish the response.


‘Slowing the flow in the rivers Ouse and Foss; a long-term plan for York’ is a study looking at how river flows could be slowed and managed in areas upstream of the city to counter the effects of climate change over the next 100 years. 

Slowing the flow could also reduce flood risk to smaller communities in the area, and provides opportunities to enhance the natural environment, create habitat, and improve the amenity value and commercial value of land.  Many of these opportunities will require working in partnership with private, public and charitable bodies to achieve multiple benefits.

Why is this needed?

Records show that on average, the peak river level in the centre of York has been increasing annually over the last century.

Figure 1: The steady increase in the annual maximum levels at the 'viking' river level recorder in central York.

This increase means that the level of protection offered by York's flood defences is decreasing over time. With current land usages and climate change, predictions show that this trend will continue. Unless we can slow the flow upstream, it is predicted that in 100 years' time the flood defences in York will need to be 90cm higher just to offer the same standard of protection as they do now.

We completed a study in 2017 called ‘Slowing the Flow in the Rivers Ouse and Foss’, and published a summary in York Press inviting comments from partners and the public. We have discussed the study with partners and other groups since.

We are progressing the recommendations that fall within the Environment Agency remit.  However, there are further recommendations that we cannot progress alone. We propose that these would be best progressed through working with the existing Dales to Vale River Network and should be recorded and tracked by including location specific actions in the next update of the Flood Risk Management Plan.

For information and clarity this study is not part of the York 5-year plan but sits alongside, taking a longer term view. The York 5-year plan aims to provide the city of York with a high standard of flood defence. You can use the link below to find out more.

Why your views matter

This online consultation is an opportunity to follow-up on feedback received in 2017 on our published summary on Slowing the Flow, and for any interested party to formally make comment on the study.

We are seeking views from partners, landowners, the public and other bodies on the general principles of the study and on our proposal for how to progress.

We are also asking if you have any current or future work proposed that might be aligned with our objectives and could be developed in partnership.

You can use the link below to provide online responses.

However, if you are unable to use this online service, a response form in Word is attached below to download and email.

What happens next

We will publish a report here on Citizen Space summarising the responses we have received. 

If the outline of the study and our proposed approach to the recommendations meets with general support then we will work with the Dales to Vale River Network to develop specific actions and we will record those actions in the Flood Risk Management Plan. 

If other means to develop this work are proposed, or if there are challenges to the underlying principle of slowing the flow, then we will consult further with the involved parties to understand how they feel we should proceed. 


  • Recreational and commercial river users
  • Fishing clubs and representative associations
  • Members of the public with an interest in the river, the species and conservation
  • Businesses
  • Charities
  • Statutory organisations
  • NGOs
  • Members of the public
  • Elected representatives, including MPs
  • Local councils
  • Academics
  • Government family organisations
  • IDBs
  • Environmental bodies
  • Land owners
  • Farming associations
  • Drainage associations
  • RFCCs
  • Water companies
  • Community groups
  • Flood action groups


  • Flood management