Funds delay cause for concern

A LIKELY delay in the Morpeth Flood Alleviation Scheme has caused concern among residents of a nearby village.

The Environment Agency’s proposed £17million project involves storing flood water upstream of Morpeth on the Mitford Estate, building new defence walls in the town and replacing some of the existing defences.

But funding cuts meant it did not meet the new criteria for funding in 2011/12 and no money has been allocated to it in the agency’s provisional budget.

This could mean the scheme will take a longer time to complete or it may have to be scaled down.

The news has not been well received by members of Mitford Parish Council.

Chairman Mike Sharp said: “A delay in the scheme would be a big disappointment.

“As the Environment Agency has raised the bar considerably, we could be looking at a delay of many years until the economic situation improves, or there could be a reduction in the level of protection.

“If they are looking to reduce the scope of the scheme, then the upstream retention works must be in doubt.

“There’s a lot of concern in Mitford because at the moment if there is a surge down the Font and Wansbeck, we face a big problem. As well as properties suffering, farming land is greatly damaged when there is a flood.”