York & North Yorkshire

York's Foss flood barrier: Upgrade work costs more than double

Foss Barrier project artist impression Image copyright Environment Agency
Image caption An artist's impression of how the Foss Barrier will look once completed

The cost of upgrading a flood barrier and pumping station in York has more than doubled since the work began.

The Environment Agency was given £17m of government cash for the Foss Barrier site following flooding in 2015.

This funding has since risen to £38m due to the "complexity" and scale of the project, the agency said.

City of York Councillor Paula Widdowson said the entire structure had been replaced and would be "fit for the next 50 to 60 years".

"The initial concept was for a broadly like-for-like replacement of the pumping station that would be raised above maximum flood levels, upgraded to current standards with increased pumping capacity," a spokesman for the agency said.

However, other requirements for the work were subsequently identified during ongoing reviews in the early stages of the project.

"This subsequent increase in complexity resulted in the need for an extension to the original building, increased time for design, construction and testing, all of which increased the cost," he said.

The spokesman added that a temporary platform was needed while a new floor was being built and this was "in operation for longer than originally intended which increased the overall costs".

Image copyright AFP/Getty
Image caption There was flooding in streets near the Foss which would normally have been protected

Work on the Foss Barrier is ongoing with the gate being replaced and the flood wall being raised.

Ms Widdowson told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: "They have replaced everything, including the barrier itself.

"The money comes from Westminster, it's national funding, and will protect hundreds of homes and businesses."

The work is being done after the city was flooded in December 2015 when the barrier was lifted to prevent the control room from flooding.

The Foss Barrier, which opened in 1987, consists of a gate that is dropped into position to stop the River Ouse, forcing water back up the River Foss.

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