08:00 - 28 August 2007


Calls are being made for urgent restoration work at an East Yorkshire canal to prevent more flooding.

Residents and enthusiasts claim people are being put at risk because of delays over plans to install new lock gates on Driffield Canal at Wansford.

The Environment Agency has halted restoration projects on the 250-year-old canal until a survey into the impact of the scheme on waterway wildlife has been completed.

But Driffield Navigation Amenities Association (DNAA), which carries out restoration projects, said the hold-up is delaying the revival of the historic canal.

Volunteers also claim the village may have been spared flooding in June had new gates been in place.

New lock gates and a by-wash, a channel used to take surplus water from a lock, would have removed floodwater from the swollen canal rather than pouring over the top into the village.

Driffield town councillor Paul Rounding, chairman of the DNAA, said: "Most of the locks and bridges on the canal have been restored and I can't understand why the agency is dragging its feet.

"We certainly respect the habitat of wildlife on the canal and would never do anything to hurt those creatures, but the waterway was created for boats, not animals.

"The hold-up is delaying completion of the restoration, but it could also lead to future flooding in Wansford if we get more heavy rainfall."

Mr Rounding said flooding problems stemmed from the old lock gates not working so a build up of excess water could not be drained away.

"A by-wash would have let the water through rather than going over the top as happened in June," he said.

The DNAA said it has been trying for years to persuade the agency to permit the installation of new lock gates and the construction of a by-wash.

Mr Rounding said: "We want the Environment Agency to give the go-ahead as a matter of urgency, because the old gates could collapse and cause serous flooding."

An agency spokesman said permission could not be given until the survey was competed and submitted to Natural England.

He was unable to comment on whether new lock gates would have prevented flooding in Wansford.



Driffield Navigation Amenities Association


Environment Agency