WORK to protect a North Yorkshire town from flood damage as part of a £2m scheme is underway.

The long-awaited scheme, known as Slowing the Flow, will combat flooding in Pickering, Ryedale, and the main control structure is now almost completed.

Experts said the scheme will reduce the chances of flooding in the town from 25 per cent in any one year to four per cent or less. Once the control structure is completed it will be covered with clay to create a two-metre bund wall.

Mike Potter, chairman of Pickering and District Civic Society, said: “The top and downstream side of the bund will be covered with a 'grasscrete' facing to reinforce it in the event of water over-topping. Upstream, the lateral bund alongside the railway to protect it from floodwater is almost complete too. It has been a long road but we’re on the final lap.”

The scheme will hold back more than 100,000 cubic metres of water and steel posts will stop trees and branches from blocking the outflow in flood conditions.