Camera keeps an eye on river

Brought to you by the Morpeth Herald.
Brought to you by the Morpeth Herald.

The network of cameras keeping an eye on the region’s waterways this winter includes one covering a section of the River Wansbeck in the Morpeth area.

A total of 12 cameras have so far been installed near debris screens at key sites across the North East – another area covered in Northumberland is Acomb near Hexham – and a further five are in the pipeline.

They provide staff at the Environment Agency’s incident room in Newcastle with real-time images, which gives them information on water height and an early alert on blockages in waterways.

Project executive Gary Cutter explained how the cameras have already made a major difference already to the field teams.

He said: “During incidents, the field teams would visit these sites as a precaution to check that water was flowing freely and the screens were not blocked with debris.

“Thanks to these cameras, we can now carry out real time checks, helping us to cut down on unnecessary visits and make sure we are concentrating on those sites where there’s a risk.

“During a flood, every minute counts and we want to make sure we go where we’re needed to help reduce flood risk as quickly as possible.”

The Environment Agency already has monitors on many waterways across the North East, which send back information on water flows and heights.

However, some are unsuitable for this type of monitoring and so it has placed cameras at locations where there is currently no telemetry, but where a blockage cou-ld have a big impact on homes.

There are also two mobile cameras that can be used in case a particular area needs to be monitored.