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Flood scheme to be fast-tracked

Vital flood defence schemes in Yorkshire are to be fast-tracked, thanks to a campaign backed by the York Evening Press.

The Yorkshire Regional Flood Defence Committee has decided to prioritise new defence projects for Malton, Old Malton, Norton, Pickering and Stamford Bridge, which will ensure work begins within the coming financial year.

Flood victims in Ryedale have been campaigning for the Environment Agency to step up its promise to build flood defences after they were flooded out three times in less than two years.

The Evening Press joined the fight by launching its Save Ryedale from Flooding campaign, which won the support of more than 1,200 people.

However, there are fears that the victory may be at the expense of important maintenance work and improvements to the flood warning system.

A proposed 37 per cent increase in local authority levies to the committee was refused by Yorkshire councillors, who voted instead for a 10 per cent rise.

The environment Agency said the big increase was needed to pay for a range of maintenance work to existing defences, better flood forecasts and new schemes.

Ryedale flood campaigner Howard Keal welcomed the fast tracking of new defences but claimed councillors had fudged the funding issue, and other parts of the region might pay the price.

He also warned that Ryedale still faced many more flood threats before the scheme could be completed, and said: “We are a long way from being high and dry.”

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