SKIPTON'S delayed flood alleviation scheme is to finally get under way after it received the remaining £1.2 million of funding.

It means work, which will cost a total of £13.8 million and take two years to complete, can start in the next few months, protecting 500 homes and businesses from future flooding.

It will also release up land in the south of Skipton for potential industrial development.

Cllr Simon Myers, Craven District Council’s lead member for enterprising Craven, said it was excellent news.

"This is something that we have been working with the Environment Agency to achieve for a number of years now," he said.

“The scheme will have a significant impact on the local economy, in addition to providing better flood protection for the town it will enable the development of land to create up to 500 new jobs."

The last £1.2 million has come via central government to the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) which invests in schemes supporting the growth of local economies.

"The decision by the LEP to invest in the scheme illustrates the importance of Skipton to the future economic prosperity of the region," added Cllr Myers, who also paid tribute to the support of Skipton MP Julian Smith.

Adrian Gill, flood risk manager for the Environment Agency, said the final £1.2 million meant the "crucial scheme" could go ahead.

"We now hope to award the construction contract as soon as possible with works due to start on site in the next few months," he said.

The work will involve the creation of two flood storage areas - across Eller Beck at Skipton Golf Club, and across Waller Hill Beck, between the A65 and Otley Road.

They will hold back water coming down from the hills surrounding the town during heavy rainfall, slowing the flow through Skipton and reducing the risk of flooding.

The proposals also include improvements to river channels in the town centre and raising the height of some existing river walls to reduce the risk of overtopping.

Planning permission was given last year, but a number of conditions need to be discharged before work can start.

It is planned to start at Eller Beck with some tree clearance and the diversion of an overhead electricity cable.

Site clearance and preparation work at Waller Hill Beck will take place at the same time, before attention turns to the town centre works, which will be planned in consultation with residents, the business community and Craven District Council.

Skipton MP Mr Smith, who recently called on the help of Prime Minister David Cameron in the House of Commons, said he was delighted.

"As well as protecting communities from flooding, this additional investment will unlock a further 500 jobs in Skipton and a regular pay check. Skipton has one of the lowest levels of unemployment in the country and this will help us keep it that way," he said.

The flood alleviation scheme was first announced in 2012 with £8.8 million from the Environment Agency and £1.7 million from the Defra Growth Fund.

Further contributions totalling £2.1 million will come from Craven District Council, North Yorkshire Country Council, the Yorkshire Regional Flood and Coastal Committee and Yorkshire Water.