Sir, - In March Defra announced its decisions on the funding feview of flood defence, laying out the broad principles of what changes will be made to the management and financing of flood defence in the next year or two.

One of the decisions is to extend the Environment Agency's powers to include all waterways which pose the greatest risk. Brompton Beck on the outskirts of Northallerton should come within this category.

In November 2001 this beck flooded many properties in Brompton village, causing considerable damage to both houses and business property.

Nothing has been done to reduce the risk of a recurrence: too many bodies have been involved - the River Wiske Internal Drainage Board, Hambleton District Council and North Yorkshire County Council, so this is an example of the improvement which will follow Defra's decision.

Unfortunately there is no indication of a date when this will apply. Years before the last flood the county council was recommended to widen the small arches of a stone bridge in the village, but it neglected to take any action and when the last flood occurred it acted as a dam and increased the depth of the flood waters and diverted them down the main roads, causing further damage.

It took some time after the last flood for the Environment Agency to undertake a flood risk survey but this was submitted to the drainage board and to the two councils. But after all this time no decisions have been taken, and every time the beck floods the Water End Green, the anxiety of the people becomes more acute.

Unfortunately some insurance companies have withdrawn flood insurance for some of the properties which had been flooded, so the owners are now at risk for thousands of pounds, in one case over £200,000.

This would spell financial disaster in a number of cases, so their anxiety is twofold. If remedial action is taken the insurance companies would be more prepared to reinstate the flood insurance. The continued lack of action suggests total disregard of the welfare of the ratepayers the councils are supposed to serve.

There is one new development which will be welcomed. The Environment Agency is in process of installing flood detection equipment in the catchment with a view to providing a flood warning to the people of Brompton by September this year.

But it will not stop the flooding which, as scientists have warned us, will become more frequent due to climate change.


Church View,


First things first

Sir, - So, we are to have trees planted down Long Street, Thirsk, to enhance the area.

Are we also to have large trees planted round the disgusting Vale Garages site and adjacent old house that to my knowledge has been empty for 50 years and left to rot.

The owner of Vale Garages and house were given an order by the council to tidy up this site. Why has this not been followed up? Nothing has been down. Come on councillors, get your priorities correct and see to this eyesore before trying to make our street a lovely entrance to Thirsk.


Long Street,


The best treatment

Sir, - Having broken my ankle at the end of January I would like to place on record my appreciation of the skill, care and professionalism of all the staff at the Friarage Hospital, Northallerton.

I could not have received better treatment anywhere.


Strome House,