We have received a number of comments and enquiries about some flood maintenance work we have carried out on an embankment at Kelfield Ings, on the River Ouse, eight miles downstream of York.
Kelfield Ings is part of the Three Washlands along with Riccall Ings and Cawood Ings, which help better protect the village of Cawood and the surrounding area from flooding, along with an Environment Agency flood wall in the village.
This type of maintenance work on flood embankments requires us to cut back grass so that we can check that defences are structurally sound and there is nothing jeopardising this such as badger setts or mole infestations. These can pose a real risk to our flood defences by causing a bank to leak or even breach during a flood - and with more than 400 properties at risk of flooding in the Cawood area, this type of maintenance work is essential.
A typical maintenance routine involves cutting the grass two or three times per year. We always aim to restrict any essential maintenance to the embankments and not the fields or meadows more widely. We regret that on this occasion it meant cutting down wildflowers, which are not only beautiful but provide habitat. We will review our schedule for maintenance at this location so that in future this work can be carried out earlier in the season, before wildflowers have grown.
Check your flood risk and sign up to flood warnings at www.gov.uk/flood