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Pickering flood defences hailed as ideal model

Pickering beck Photo: ITV Tyne Tees

A North Yorkshire town which avoided flooding despite not having traditional flood defences has been hailed as an example to follow.

Pickering flooded in 2007 but couldn't get funding for a flood barrier. Instead a smaller, and cheaper reservoir to store water and let it out slowly was built further up Pickering beck.

In addition, 167 small, leaky dams were built out of logs and branches and trees were planted.

It is part of an attempt to recreate past conditions that slowed the flow of water from the hills. Instead of dealing with the water when it gets to the town, the aim is to control the path it takes.

Academics and engineers say that these cost effective, simple schemes are not always appropriate but could be the way to prevent further flooding across the north. Dr Paul Quinn has worked on similar schemes in Northumberland.

It's really good if you have a big thunderstorm. A big thunderstorm with really big intensity and rainfall it just kills the storm. It takes away the energy, slows down the flow. And it works really well for small communities where the flood wave goes through quite quickly.

– Dr Paul Quinn, Senior Lecturer in Catchment Hydrology at Newcastle University and

Pickering's residents enjoyed a dry Christmas. Kathryn Grayston spent Boxing Day wondering if the new measures would be enough to hold back the waters running past her home.

It was bound to be tested at some point or another but the fact that it worked I'm sure and it benefitted the whole town especially down below as well because their levels didn't rise at all."

– Kathryn Grayston