By Jack Goodman
RESIDENTS OF a North Yorkshire town devastated by flooding last Christmas have met for the first time for advice on how to prevent further damage to their homes this winter.
About 200 Tadcaster locals gathered for the Flood Advice Fair on Sunday following the December deluge that led to the evacuation of more than 130 homes and the collapse of the town’s only road bridge, which dates back to the 18th Century.
And today the Association of British Insurers criticised hundreds of thousands of householders in flood risk areas across the UK – saying they had failed to install basic protection against rising waters.
The ABI said even buildings guarded by flood defences should have flood-proof doors in place. But the comments have sparked a row about who is responsible for flood prevention involving the Environment Agency, local councils and central government.
Nearly 80 homes and businesses were flooded in Tadacaster on Boxing Day. Representatives from the town’s Flood Action Group, North Yorkshire County Council, Yorkshire Water and the Environment Agency were all at the fair at Riley-Smith Hall.
Nicola Eades, of Tadcaster Flood Action Group, said: “The purpose of the event is to help prepare communities for flooding, and to help prevent it from happening.”
Phil Wallace, director of Flood Guard UK, said: “People need to look at the products on offer to help guard against flooding, and get them installed to minimize the risk to properties.”
The company offers different products to help prevent flooding, including a door sealing system that uses sensors which activate after detecting rising flood water.
Mr Wallace, 57, added: “The best thing to do, if you’re worried about flooding, is get a professional down for advice.”
Yorkshire Water representatives were informing residents about the impact of sewage systems on flood risks.
Jonathan Piatka, of the Yorkshire Water Flood Risk Team, said: “We’ve got a drainage area plan of the Tadcaster sewage system with flow monitors in place to help oversee the system. This highlights areas of the sewage network that can be improved, and in doing so, helps to reduce the risk of flooding.”
Work is still on-going to repair Tadcaster Bridge, which connected the two parts of the town on either side of the River Wharfe.
Engineers have been working around the clock since September 26 to complete repairs before water levels rise.
North Yorkshire County Council said the majority of the work will be boring piles, and that noise will be kept to a minimum.