DAMAGE caused by flash floods will cost a national park authority three times their total reserve to repair, according to a report.

The North York Moors National Park Authority is facing a bill of £619,000 to fix bridges, clear debris and replace fencing.

The figure is equivalent to three times the authority's total reserve, about ten per cent of its total annual budget and more than eight times its annual budget for maintenance to public rights of way.

Flash floods hit the moors on June 19 after a month's rainfall fell in one hour.

Helmsley, Hawnby and villages to the east of Thirsk bore the brunt of the flood waters, with houses damaged, roads, bridges and footpaths washed away and many people having to be airlifted to safety.

In the North York Moors National Park, 32 bridges need replacing and ten repairing. Three bridges are needed across streams previously crossed by fords and £100,000 is needed to replace fencing.

A survey of half the farms affected found that 9,000 metres of fencing has been destroyed.

Central government funding is available to both Hambleton District Council and North Yorkshire County Council to help with the cost of the repairs but the same option is not available to the national park authority.

Chief executive Andy Wilson is now planning to raise the issue at national level.

An authority spokesman said: "After previous flooding, the authority has received emergency funding directly from the Department for Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to help repair the damage.

"At a meeting held with Defra officials in August, it was confirmed that a central funding pot was no longer available from the national park section of Defra.

"This situation reflected the recent delegation of risk from central government to local agencies.

"Defra therefore suggested that the authority would need to fund the necessary works from its own sources.

"In the absence of substantial emergency funding, officers are diverting resources away from planned public rights of way access improvement work in other areas of the park in order to re-open the affected part of the network as soon as practicable."