York Flood Alleviation Scheme (FAS) The Clifton & Rawcliffe Community Information Page

Closes 31 Dec 2021

Opened 19 Nov 2018

Overview

The purpose of this page is to provide information on how the Environment Agency aims to reduce the risk of flooding for homes and businesses along the River Ouse in the Clifton and Rawcliffe community.

The York 5 Year Plan identified 10 separate areas at risk of flooding.  This includes the community of Clifton and Rawcliffe. Since the publication of this plan in 2016, further investigation has shown that this area can be divided into different hydrological areas or 'flood cells'. This page focuses on the following flood cells located along the River Ouse:

Clifton and Rawcliffe

In the early 1980s a barrier bank was built on Clifton Ings and Rawcliffe Meadows to create a storage area for flood water and reduce the volume of water reaching the city centre. This structure also provides flood protection for the communities living in Clifton and Rawcliffe. In addition to its function as a flood storage area, Clifton Ings is an important and much loved green space on the edge of the city.  It is used by dog walkers, ramblers, runners and cyclists at all times of the day and provides valuable habitats for wildlife, including rare meadow grassland species and the Tansy Beetle.


The Clifton & Rawcliffe Flood Cell shown in blue

The Problem

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’. In these instances, the Environment Agency had to provide temporary pumps to reduce flooding upstream on Blue Beck.

The Solution

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 140 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 the work we are proposing 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.  Existing areas of rare meadow grassland species, impacted by our work, will be re-created on a ratio of four to one within Rawcliffe Ings.  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 of 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.

Your browser does not support inline PDF viewing.Please download the PDF.

Timescales and Next Steps

We submitted our proposals to City of York Council for planning approval at the end of December 2018. You can now view both the main application and a separate one for the access route online via the CYC planning portal (ref 19/00007/FULM and 19/00009/FUL). As part of the planning process, you now have the opportunity to comment positively or negatively on these proposals until the 29th of March 2019 (for the full scheme) and the 20th of March (for the access route) . You will need to register or login to leave comments and/or receive updates on applications.

Documents relaring to this planning application will also be available at our Community Flood Hub on Wellington Row, North Street.

 If the planning application is approved, construction work will start during the summer (2019) 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 opportunity for the public to discuss York flood defence plans and raise concerns with Environment Agency staff or

•             Email: yorkfloodplan@environment-agency.gov.uk

Up to date information can also be found at:

•             York FAS Facebook Page: @YorkFAS

•             Twitter: #envagencyyne

 

Coppins Farm to Scarborough Bridge

This area already benefits from flood defences managed by the Environment Agency. These include embankments in the grounds of St Olave's and St Peter's schools and a flood wall in the gardens of Almery Terrace. These defences protect 156 properties, mainly located on Almery Terrace, Sycamore Terrace, Longfield Terrace and Sycamore Place.

The Coppins Farm to Scarborough Bridge Flood Cell shown in blue

The Problem

Unfortunately the defences within this flood cell no longer offer the standard of protection we are aiming to achieve for the city, and are at risk of over-topping in the future. We will need to increase the height of some of the defences, and construct new defences to achieve our desired standard of protection.

We would like to raise the height of the existing flood walls in the gardens of Almery Terrace. This could have a detrimental impact on these residents' views of the river.

There are also properties at risk of flooding along Burdyke Beck, for example around Clifton Green. Clifton Green flooded in 2000 and 2015, and has historically been subject to flooding from the beck.

The Solution

We are proposing the following improvements to the flood defences in Coppins Farm to Scarborough Bridge:

  • Raising the height of the existing flood wall at the back of Almery Terrace by 30 centimetres. After consulting with residents we are proposing to use glass panels to achieve this height increase. This reduces the visual impact of raising this wall.
  • Raising the existing embankment along St Peter's and St Olave's School playing fields by an average of 82 centimetres to take the existing height from 2.63 to 3.45 metres.
  • Extending the length of the existing embankment through St Peter's playing field by 82 metres. The average height of the embankment extension will be 1.89 metres.
  • Funding grants for Property Flood Resilience for properties at risk of flooding in Government House Road.

Timescales and Next Steps

We will continue engaging with residents to inform them about the detailed design of our scheme. This will include inviting Almery Terrace residents back to the York Flood Hub to demonstrate prototype wall raising options. We will also provide information to St Olave's and St Peter's schools and surrounding landowners regarding site access during construction.

We plan to submit a planning application to City of York Council in early 2019 and to start construction in summer 2019.

Engaging with the community

In March 2018 we met with residents of Almery Terrace who have a flood wall in their garden to explain the need to raise it and discuss options for doing so.

In June 2018 we held an engagement event at our York Flood Hub on Wellington Row. This gave members of the public, including residents of the properties protected by the Almery Terrace flood wall, an opportunity to view our proposals and provide feedback. We also attended two Clifton Ward community forums to publicise this event.

These events have given local residents an opportunity to study our proposals, ask questions, and comment on them. It is important that the solutions we are proposing are broadly supported by the community, and any potential constraints and limitations are clearly understood.

We have been in conversation with St Peter's and St Olave's schools whilst developing options for the scheme and will continue to do so throughout detailed design and construction.

This page provides information, documents and maps relating to the proposals for reducing flood risk in the Clifton & Rawcliffe Community

We will update this page with information throughout the year. If you would like to provide any feedback, or have any questions, please contact us at yorkfloodplan@environment-agency.gov.uk.

This information is not part of a consultation, but we would welcome feedback, and questions. Please use the email above.

Audiences

  • 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

Interests

  • Flood management