A NORTH Yorkshire council will this week consider a report into its performance during November's floods.

Hambleton District Council was inundated with appeals for help when ten inches of rain fell on the region in a fortnight.

Although the administration did what it could in the circumstances, at a meeting on Thursday officers will recommend new emergency procedures to cope with a similar disaster in future.

Among the first problems encountered by staff involved the council's emergency room at its Stone Cross Civic Centre, in Northallerton.

Not enough telephone lines could be routed there, so an emergency flood room was set up in the accountancy office instead, where there was also access to the Internet.

The authority's stock of sandbags also proved insufficient - only a few hundred were stacked on pallets ready for immediate use at a depot in Northallerton's Darlington Road.

Thousands more will now be prepared and sent to distribution points around the district, closer to where flooding is likely to occur.

Out-of-hours calls also proved to be a problem for the public - but a flood line number will now be published in the telephone book and on the authority's website. The council will also look at buying more vehicles capable of negotiating deep water when others in its fleet are due for renewal. One van was damaged by flood water while on an emergency call in Dalton.

Perhaps the council's sternest critic during the emergency was the area's business community.

The authority's stated priority was to protect life and private property - which meant that companies requesting sandbags were turned away.

In future, more information will be supplied in advance to firms likely to be at risk from flooding.

However, the council will reiterate that responsibility for protecting business properties lies with the owners, although sandbags will be made available at cost price, if bought in advance of an emergency.

The authority has also asked the public for feedback on its performance during the flooding. The report says: "Responses have been helpful in mapping out the extent of the problem.

"There have been many suggestions on what needs to be done from the public, and the council is responding to requests to attend public meetings.'