The Clifton and Rawcliffe Information Page

Closes 31 Dec 2021

Opened 19 Nov 2018


This page focuses on proposed work in the Clifton and Rawcliffe flood cell.

The Clifton and Rawcliffe flood cell is highlighted in blue

Our Assessment

Flooding is not a new occurrence in Clifton and Rawcliffe.  Both neighbourhoods have been subjected to repeated and extensive flooding in the past.  During the floods in 2000, water from the river outflanked our flood defences, spilled onto Shipton Road and flooded over 100 homes.  The flood basin at Blue Beck also exceeded its capacity in 2000 and 2015 and water ‘backed up’. On both occasions, the Environment Agency had to provide temporary pumps to reduce flooding upstream on Blue Beck.

Our Proposal

We are proposing the following improvements to the flood defences in Clifton and Rawcliffe:

  • Raising the height of the existing barrier bank and extending it at both the northern end through Rawcliffe Country Park and southern end through Homestead Park (to prevent flood waters flowing round the back of the raised bank).
  • Widening the ‘footprint’ of the bank in order to reduce the angle of the slope on both sides and so reduce the risk of bank slippage in the future. 
  • Installing a new pumping station within the barrier bank to maintain water levels in Blue Beck storage lagoon.

This combination of measures will offer greater protection against future floods and so reduce (but not eliminate) the risk of flooding for homes and businesses in the area.

Benefits of the Scheme

This scheme will deliver significant improvements to existing flood defences:

  • Raising and extending the barrier bank will reduce the risk of flooding for 134 homes in the area. 
  • It will also give us an opportunity to renovate and stabilise the existing embankment by making it wider and so reducing the angle of the slope.
  • This will extend the lifespan of the barrier bank and increase the speed at which we can drain the basin after a flood, so protecting the biological diversity of the site.
  • The new pumping station in Blue Beck will reduce the risk of flood water flowing onto Shipton Road, keeping an important transport route into the city open.

It will also give us an opportunity to include environmental improvements in the design of the site.

Impacts and Mitigation

Whilst these changes will bring long term benefits for the area, there will be some unavoidable impacts on the site, mainly whilst the scheme is being built.  During this time public access through Rawcliffe Meadows will be restricted; one footpath adjacent to the allotments will be closed and the cycle route diverted.  We appreciate that this may cause inconvenience to people using the site but unfortunately it is necessary in order to make the site safe for visitors.

Clifton Ings is a popular area with walkers and cyclists.

In addition work on the barrier bank will encroach permanently into an area of the Ings designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), known as Clifton and Rawcliffe Meadows. This will result in the loss of rare floodplain grassland habitat. We are working with City of York Council, Natural England and Friends of Rawcliffe Meadows (FoRM) to find ways to replace such losses and reduce damage to other habitats resulting from the scheme. As much as possible, we intend to minimise our impact on the site and restore it to its previous state as a floodplain meadow once the work is completed.

We have carried out detailed ecological surveys of the site and will draw up an Environmental Action Plan to ensure that plant and animal species are not adversely affected by our work.  Any existing areas of rare meadow grassland species damaged by our work will be re-created on a ratio of one to four within Rawcliffe Ings; for every hectare damaged, we will replant and restore four hectares of the same habitat.  We will avoid working in the area around the pond where the Tansy beetle is found.  We will replace any trees or hedgerows lost as a result of this work.  All vegetation clearance work (required before construction starts) will be done outside the bird nesting season.

The Tansy Beetle - a species with a UK range of just a 45km stretch along the River Ouse, centred on York.

Engaging with the Community

We have met with a variety of local groups with an interest in the site to discuss our proposals and ensure we find the least disruptive way of carrying out the work. On 3rd December we held a drop-in session at York Sports Club on Shipton Road to display our proposals. This event was well attended and we received lots of feedback from residents, interested parties and recreational users of Clifton Ings. We have since published a summary of our findings from the drop-in.


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Timescales and Next Steps

We submitted our proposals to City of York Council for planning approval at the end of December 2018. The planning application was approved at the Council's planning committee meeting in September 2019. 

Construction work will start in Spring 2020 and finish at the end of 2021.

If you would like any further information or details about our application, you can speak to an Environment Agency adviser through:

  • The York Community Hub: located on Wellington Row, York, open Monday, Wednesday and Thursday 10am to 4pm. This site is open to the public, provides information on York FAS and opportunities for the public to discuss York flood defence plans and raise concerns with Environment Agency staff or
  • Email:

Up to date information can also be found at:

  • York FAS Facebook Page: @YorkFAS
  • Twitter: #envagencyyne


This page is for information purposes only and is not part of a consultation.

We will update this page with information throughout the year. If you would like to provide feedback on the proposals, or have any questions, please contact us at

We are also keen to understand whether on-line Information Pages are useful to you, and if this method for keeping you informed is successful.

We very much welcome your feedback on information pages and your feedback will help us to keep improving.

If you would like to give us some feedback please click on the link or download and return the feedback form below.

Give us your feedback


  • Members of the public with an interest in the river, the species and conservation
  • Businesses
  • Charities
  • Statutory organisations
  • Members of the public
  • Elected representatives, including MPs
  • Local councils
  • District and parish councils
  • Land owners
  • RFCCs
  • Community groups
  • Flood action groups
  • Lead Local Flood Authorities
  • Local Risk Management Authorities
  • Internal Drainage Boards


  • Flood management