COMPLETION of Ripon’s flood alleviation scheme is one step nearer after officials gave the Birkby Nab reservoir the seal of approval.
Engineers have confirmed the flood storage reservoir upstream on the River Laver is now fully functional.
The reservoir forms one part of the Environment Agency’s £14.4m scheme to reduce the risk of flooding to 548 homes and 96 commercial properties in Ripon.
Environment Agency project manager Tim Cobb said: “It’s been fantastic to get the storage reservoir officially finished, it’s such a vital part of the scheme that will reduce the risk of flooding in Ripon.
“We hope residents can sleep easier knowing that it is now fully operational.”
The storage area has the capacity to hold up to 1.5m cubic metres of flood water – equivalent to 600 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
Because the capacity is so large, it allows the walls and embankments being constructed in Ripon city centre – which make up the second part of the scheme – to be built up to a metre lower than would have otherwise been necessary.
Over the past 12 months, work has been carried out in Ripon at Fisher Green, Borrage Lane, North Bridge and Alma Weir.
As reported earlier this month, the Environment Agency is hoping to have the whole scheme fully functional by Christmas with further landscaping and aesthetic works taking place in the new year.
Mr Cobb said: “We’re hoping to get the last pieces of work around the weir finished in December so the residents of Ripon can start the new year with a finished flood scheme.”
When complete, the agency says the flood defence scheme will reduce the annual risk of flood to one per cent. Before the scheme started, some homes had an annual flood risk of 10 per cent.