Massive new flood gate fitted in York

A new replacement gate is being air-lifted into place at the Foss Barrier next week, marking a major milestone in a £38m upgrade that will reduce flood risk to around 1,200 properties in York.

Work to remove the existing lifting gate and install a taller one starts on Monday 18 January and will take around 4 days to complete. This will better protect local homes, businesses and infrastructure by stopping flood water from the River Ouse backing up along the River Foss after heavy rainfall.

This latest milestone brings the Environment Agency’s upgrade to the Foss Barrier pumping station one step closer to its scheduled completion date of June 2021.

All the mechanical and electrical equipment that operates the gate is being replaced, upgraded and fully integrated with the rest of the Foss Barrier pumping station. The floodwall between Skeldergate Bridge and the Novotel is also being raised.

As part of the upgrade, all eight pumps have been replaced by bigger ones with greater capacity and new back-up generators mean they can operate during a power failure.

Steps have also been taken to stop the River Ouse flowing back up the River Foss under the new building. The upgrade has included modernisation of the control systems so that they are fully automated. Progress has continued while following Government guidelines for safe working during the coronavirus pandemic.

Mark Fuller, project lead for the Foss Barrier improvement scheme with the Environment Agency, said:

This latest milestone in the £38 million upgrade to the Foss Barrier and its infrastructure is great news as it means we are a major step closer to achieving better protection for more than 1,200 local homes and businesses.

We are also investing a further £45m in other parts of the city as we construct the York Flood Alleviation Scheme that will reduce flood risk to over 2,000 properties and make the city more resilient to climate change. The Foss Barrier is upgrade is a vital part of reaching that goal.

Cllr Paula Widdowson, Executive Member for Environment and Climate Change, with City of York Council, said:

The commencement of works to replace the Foss Barrier gate are a fantastic development and we are grateful for all of the hard work that has taken place to bring the project to this point. The improvements to the gate will combine with the works carried out previously to the pumps and control building and will provide improved levels of flood resilience to a significant area of the city. The council welcomes the works and we look forward to their successful completion.

Improvement work at the pumping station started in spring 2016 and a large concrete platform was erected that summer to enable the size of the original building to be increased.

A new platform was built next to the old building to temporarily house the equipment and generators needed to run the water pumps that push the River Foss into the Ouse when the barrier is down at times of high water levels. This enabled construction work to increase the size of the building to house the equipment and back-up generators needed for bigger pumps.

By winter 2017 the upgraded equipment could pump 50 cubic metres of water a second, compared to the previous 30 cubic metres a second. The Boxing Day 2015 floods saw 40 cubic metres of water a second travelling down the Foss.

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