When the Environment Agency (EA) dreamed up their “wish list” for the York Flood Alleviation Scheme (FAS) following the windfall £45 Million pound funding they were given after the 2015 floods they didn’t even have it on their initial five year plan in 2016:
When they did add it, they thought the Clifton Ings Barrier Bank raising would all be constructed by now (summer 2020)
However, initially they didn’t allow for a number of factors including the length of time it takes to first get an Environmental Impact Assessment Scoping Opinion written and approved, and then the requirements for a major planning application going through the planning system.
However, as any good project manager knows, things do not always run to plan…
In the dodgy “Long list of options”, which York Natural Environment Trust (YNET) criticised in their objection to the plan, one risk they did not include was the inability to source the correct clay for the preferred option that they’d rigged the list in favour of.
In one of the EA estimates around 80,000 tonnes of clay are required, which equates to digging a quite big 104,000 cubic metre hole somewhere, and If they have to quarry the clay rather than buy it from somewhere local like either Escrick or Hemingbrough, they’d need a minerals planning application with an EIA which would likely take a year or more to prepare.
Shipping the material onto site could also bring with it an estimated 5000 wagon trips down Shipton Road in York, along with the A1237, to reach it. One shouldn’t forget the amount of diesel being used and the resultant gases and particulate matter entering the local atmosphere.
It now comes out in the July 2020 minutes of the Advisory Board meetings that the EA don’t have a source of clay yet but that they may also have to make to with a lower grade clay resulting in one of the key improvements claimed for the scheme not being possible – allowing the water to be drained off more quickly from the Ings.
Not to worry because they can still start their idea of a scheme by getting their works compound built from September onwards on top of fields, the Cornfield Reserve, that had been lovingly managed for wildlife since 2000 in the hope that come spring 2021 they’ll have discovered 80,000 tonnes of clay they can do the job with.
Would you trust your environment with them?