In the aftermath of flooding across the country, residents in a North Yorkshire village fear that a blocked waterway could create havoc if there is more heavy rain.

In the high winds in November, a large part of a willow tree broke off and fell into the River Leven at Low Green, in Great Ayton. Since then the force of the water has jammed it under the footbridge near Low Green House.

Residents are concerned it is becoming an increasing problem. Gordon Hetherington said: "It collects material from the river and is a clear risk of causing flooding if there is more heavy rain. I have been in touch with the parish council more than once and they say the Environment Agency have been told about the obstruction but so far nothing has been done.

"What makes it very worrying is there was recent publication of one of the causes of the severe flooding in Loughborough which was, apparently, due to a blockage of a canal. We really feel something should be done to remove the tree."

Darlington and Stockton Times: The tree at Great Ayton which is causing concern

There was concern for the safety of children and wildlife in the same area two years ago when part of a weir in the Leven was damaged, leaving a gaping underwater hole.

At that time the river level was low but residents warn it can rise quickly if there is substantial rain. After many appeals to the Environment Agency for help, officials said it was the responsibility of the local landowner – although no one was sure who that was. Eventually volunteers carried out work themselves.

Regarding the tree blockage, an Environment Agency spokesperson said: "Our operational teams are carrying out work to remove debris that built up at three locations on the River Leven during recent storms which may increase flood risk.

"The debris can only be removed when water levels and weather conditions make it safe to do so.

"We have already removed two of the blockages and are working to remove the third.

"We are continuing to monitor flood risk in the area and encourage members of the public to sign up to flood warnings and check their risk of flooding here – "