ALMOST £1m has been released to create new flood defences for a North Yorkshire town.

On Thursday night (January 10), Ryedale District Council agreed to provide £950,000 for a scheme to protect Pickering from floods.

The project involves creating small reservoirs, or “bunded storage” to hold heavy rainfall as it pours off the North York Moors, before it hits the market town.

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Other measures currently being implemented to try and stem the flow of flood waters include planting trees on the Levisham estate on the North York Moors and creating natural dams around Cropton Woods.

The force of water which can head towards Pickering and outlying areas became apparent last week, when a bridge over the River Seven collapsed near Cropton, which was believed to have been weakened by flood waters.

Four men were on the bridge at the time and two were thrown into the water. The normally placid river had been turned into an angry torrent by heavy rainfall.

In 2010 a woman from Beverley was killed a few yards downstream as she tried to cross a ford in her Range Rover. Her vehicle was swept away.

Pickering’s flood defence schemes are being overseen by the Slow the Flow organisation, made up of bodies such as the Forestry Commission, Environment Agency and local councils.

Slow the Flow programme manager, Simon Marrington, said: “The topography of the North York Moors lends itself to this flash flooding.

“A lot of water courses off the southern edge of the North York Moors, the river catchments are capable of creating a phenomenal peak in a very short amount of time.”