12 June 2011
Ripon's Flood Alleviation Scheme
However, the rivers do flood, particularly when both the Skell and Ure are full and the Ure backs up the Skell and into Fisher Green, a low lying area at the edge of the city. So a major flood scheme was started late last year just as the flood season starts, so initial work was hampered by, you got it, flooding. But after a really wet start to 2011, work has progressed decently and I felt it time to record some of the work being done. It is not necessarily pretty, but it is community history, something which shapes all our lives - usually mundane, but nevertheless important even if much less exciting than the media titillating misdeamours of minor celebrities.
By North Bridge on the floodplain for the River Ure as it comes down from the north, the land has been landscaped to create flood walls from earth and breeze blocks to contain the water as it swooshes down. While the arches of the bridge have been opened to allow the water to flow through into floodplains lower down, rather than building up behind the bridge.
As you wander through the city, there are major changes to Alma Weir by The Water Rat pub. The weir is being lower to allow water to flow through the city more smoothly rather than building up and threatening houses in this area. However, work is being hampered as some of the bigger houses prevent access and work on the river walls close to their properties without financial compensation - very civil community spirited.
As you walk to Fisher Green, the old concrete river walls have been removed and the banks repaired and covered with gabion baskets. Similarly, earthen banks have been built around the three houses on the north bank of Fisher Green. Lots of work is being done, but I am feeling sentimental about the destruction of the stepping stones, and I pray that they are not going to be permanently to satisfy insidous health and safety requirements. On the downside, they have managed to dig through a sewage pipe that connects Sharow with the sewerage works, so are needing a continuous movement of sewerage by tankers from Sharow to the works.
I am sure it will all be a great success, especially as there is a new mini reservoir at Birkby Nab to hold back flood surges on the Laver, which flows into the smaller Skell to the west end of Ripon. However, it does all look ugly with raised earthen flood banks obscuring the views for some.
Over the year, I have taken various photographs which show progress of the Scheme, and can be accessed on my Flickr sight at http://www.flickr.com/photos/steenbergs/sets/72157624084538088/.