Funding of Â£24 million announced for flood defences
Plans to invest millions improving flood defences in the region have been welcomed by Northumberland County Council.
The Northumbria Regional Flood and Coastal Committee (NRFCC) has announced plans to spend £24m in the coming year protecting hundreds of homes across the region – including in Northumberland.
The committee, set up by the Environment Agency, also announced in its 2015/16 annual report that it has overseen 125 projects costing £27m over the past year.
These include the completion of the Morpeth flood alleviation scheme’s upstream dam and storage area – which was activated for the first time in January 2016.
Council leader Grant Davey said: “Protecting and improving the infrastructure of all our towns is vital if they are to continue to flourish and a number of important schemes are in the pipeline for the coming year.
“Our additional spend on flood defences in Morpeth has already paid off, protecting the town during the winter storms.
“The people of Morpeth can sleep safe in the knowledge this scheme should protect them for generations to come, while the final stage of the project, involving various works to address surface water flooding at several locations in the town, is scheduled for completion next year at a cost of £1m.”
Investment projects in the county for 2016/17 highlighted by the NRFCC include Blyth Tidal Flood Alleviation Scheme, Haltwhistle Flood Alleviation Scheme and the Morpeth Surface Water Flood Alleviation Scheme.
NRFCC chairman Jon Hargeaves said: “On completion of the programme of works from 2015/16, we will see a reduction in flood and coastal erosion risk to 1,458 houses in the region, as well as delivering seven environmental projects.
“The committee is a great example of partnership working, with all local authorities, the Environment Agency and Northumbrian Water pulling together on behalf of residents and businesses in the North East.
Along with the flood defence works being carried out, the council is also well underway with its own £15million repair programme to repair the damage inflicted on the roads network by the winter’s wet weather.
The programme is being funded by the Government’s Department for Transport (DfT), which allocated £14.6million towards repair costs in the region after the county council submitted a bid for £24.3million.
The large number of affected sites has now been assessed in great detail, and a list of scheduled projects produced, with schemes prioritised based on the current issue and their implications on the network together with the impacts of delaying repairs.
Priority schemes range from major projects such as the repair of Ovingham Bridge, to a number of smaller but significant projects that provide essential network links, often between remote communities.