KEVI calls for flood defences

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Have your say

MORPETH students have spoken out to back the Herald’s calls for the town’s flood alleviation scheme to be re-instated in the 2011/12 budget.

Here are their letters.

I AM writing to tell you about how my life was changed by the September 6, 2008 flood. My house was destroyed, ruined. The downstairs was covered in mud, leaves and dung. The smell was awful and it filled the whole house. Then I had to move out. My grandparents lived in Whitley Bay so my parents moved in with them, but because my school was in Morpeth I had to move in with a friend. I stayed there for six months and I only visited my parents twice. I missed them terribly. It was so hard to go that length of time without them. It was a year after the flood when our downstairs was finally complete. We were lucky that our insurance paid for it. If that were to happen again our insurance wouldn’t pay for all of it and that would mean we would lose thousands of pounds. It would also mean breaking up my family for another six months. Every time it rains fear creeps into my mind and tells me that danger lies ahead. If flood defences were put up I could sleep easy at night, so could my parents. I couldn’t bear being split up from them again and we really couldn’t afford it so please consider us and put up decent flood defences. ABIGAIL VICTORIA NEILLY, Year 9 King Edward VI School

IT is essential that the Environment Agency gives Morpeth flood defences. It is selfish. It is ridiculous. Someone I know had a terrible experience during the floods. Their dog was washed away into the freezing North Sea, plus her garage was washed down river. While all this was happening she still had time to help the elderly up the hills to safety. Her life was turned upside down. Even though she was going through lots, she performed a number of selfless acts, while the Environment Agency can’t even be bothered to put a wall up to help this brave girl and the rest of the town from an icy death. CALUM HUGHES King Edward VI School

I BELIEVE it is essential that the Environment Agency does something about Morpeth’s flood defences. I mean, anyone who saw footage of the flood and could make a difference would. Well, anyone decent. I think the Environment Agency is selfish and truly disgraceful. Seeing all of those old, brittle and emotionally weak people being boated out of their homes and not being able to live in their cosy house for six months, even this one fact is disgusting and there are many more. CALLUM MILLING, Year 9 King Edward VI School

I AM writing this letter because I am distressed that flood defences still haven’t been built. It has nearly been two-and-a-half years and no precautions have been made. Thousands of homes and businesses were flooded and terribly damaged, leaving thousands homeless. The Morpeth flood was the biggest crisis Morpeth has ever encountered; insurance increased by 300 percent and people had to pay tens of thousands to live back in their houses, they were thousands of pounds in debt and affected for life. I was flooded, not severely, but badly. Our furniture flooded, floorboards and electricals ruined. We moved out for six months, then moved back in. You may think that’s not bad, but we live in fear of losing all our money, being homeless and tens of thousands of pounds in debt. That is the most scary thing I can think of. There are a few methods that could be done, like flood gates, not that expensive, effective and you can’t see them. When the river is high, simply open them to steer the water away. This would work. I’m sure everyone in Morpeth wouldn’t mind paying a small amount of money to get these built. Sixty years ago, Morpeth had a flood. They put a stop to it for this long so why can’t we? I know the reason: the Government. The Government is not focused on the ‘minor issues’, which are actually major. It is too busy talking about other issues that wouldn’t happen for the next 50 years, so I say, work in the present, solve the problems people are worried about. A right that humans have according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is to not live in fear. I live in fear and nothing has been done about it. The Prime Minister won’t be Prime Minister in 50 years. I appreciate him helping issues that won’t happen for a long time, but it seems that is all he is focused on. I propose to stop people worrying. The floods occurred because of two weather crises crossing, very unlikely and even more unlikely for it to happen again, but not impossible that it will. All we ask (by we I mean the people of Morpeth) is to have defences, that’s it. HAYDEN WILLIS, Year 9 King Edward VI School

I AM writing to say that I am very concerned about the amount of work that the Environment Agency is NOT doing. Morpeth may flood again at any time. My friend Andy had a birthday that day, it was at Ponteland swimming pool. It was cancelled. I tried to get there, but Hepscott had no longer become a village, it was a river rapid. It was blocking the path to my best friend’s birthday party. Part of me died that day — I just get so emotional when thinking about it. TOM PARK King Edward VI School

I AM writing to you to complain about your shocking decision NOT to install flood barriers in Morpeth. After the terrible flood occurred in 2008 do you know how many people were left homeless? Do you know how many belongings were swept away? Do you know how much terror it brought to the residents of Morpeth? If you answered yes to any of the questions above how could you decide not to install the flood barriers? Myself, and many other children and teenagers, lost nearly everything we owned and watched it float away. There was also a lot of damage to my house and we had to sleep rough for a week in a tent as the house was deemed unsafe to live in. You might think it’s all over, but it will scar Morpeth for centuries. DANIEL HERRICK King Edward VI School

I AM writing this letter to try to persuade the Environment Agency to build the much needed water barriers on Morpeth river to prevent future flood in the town of Morpeth. The flood in Morpeth in 2008 affected hundreds of people, including me and family and friends. To start, all our memories have been washed away, such as our photos of holidays, weddings and the children when they were growing up, rewards and also recorded videos of special occasions, such as birthdays. Also, all our belongings are ruined, such as furniture and technological equipment. As a result of this it has caused an economic effect on our family, having to pay for all new furniture and technology, but no amount of money can get all our memories back. If the water barriers are not built in Morpeth it will cause many problems in the future, such as insurance because insurance is gaining price and we will have to pay more money for things to be replaced in the future. It could also cause residents of Morpeth to move out of town to make sure they do not get flooded again. With Morpeth being flooded it will cause tourist reduction because people will not want to enter a flooded town, which will then cause economic factors when Morpeth starts to earn less money. CAYMEN NELLIS King Edward VI School

I AM writing to you about the scheme on flood defences that has been debated about whether or not they should continue to go through with it. I think it would be a simply ludicrous and selfish idea not to. Some people, as I write this letter, may still not be in their original houses or may still be having their houses redecorated. Hundreds of families found it extremely difficult to pay for the damage if they were not insured and if it happens again they more than likely will be unable to afford it. Insurance helped a lot of people, but they can’t do that again as we can only claim once and so if it happens again we would be unable to claim. I, thankfully, was not majorly affected by the water and I cannot possibly begin to imagine how horrifically terrifying it would have been. The height of the water was outrageously high and utterly horrifying. It my be susceptibly low that this may happen again, but just imagine, looking out of your river view window every time rain begins to lash down, wondering if in a couple of hours you will be sitting in a floating rescue boat having your worst nightmare happen all over again. That is why, if there is even the slightest chance this will happen again you must go through with your plan for the flood defences. So many lives have been affected, some benefited, some didn’t, but in Morpeth there is still a monumental fear of this happening again. I can’t put into words how extremely important this is. The thought of the defences even being debated about not even being put in is simply horrifying. It may cost a lot of money, but not as much as it will cost all of the citizens of Morpeth to repay all of the expenses needed. If the people you count on for these issues go against you, who can you count on? CHLOE BROWN, Year 9 King Edward VI School

I AM writing to you about the flood defences scheme. On September 6, 2008, horrific floods hit Morpeth and thousands of homes were destroyed. Millions of possessions were lost, flushed away with the wild rivers that swept through the villages and streets of Morpeth. Everyone who was at high risk of being injured, swept away or even killed luckily got out of their home and was taken to safety. Sadly, Morpeth did not have flood defences then, and even though promised, homes, shops, libraries and many more valued places in Morpeth are still unprotected from this devastating event happening again. After Morpeth was struck with the floods, the Environment Agency promised to get flood defences and now, just over two years later, nothing has been done and the Environment Agency is thinking of scrapping the idea. I think this is a ridiculous idea as residents, shop owners and many more still live in fear every time it rains heavily in case the awful floods strike again. As promised, this flood defence scheme should have been put in straight after the horrific event so the people of Morpeth have peace of mind, knowing their homes are safe. I can’t stress how important this is to members of the community. I hope you take into consideration the points I have made very carefully and do not make the selfish, inconsiderate decision to scrap the flood defence scheme. MEGAN ROWLEY, Year 9 King Edward VI School

I LIVE 20m away from the river at the left hand side, if you’re facing the river, of High Stanners, but I did not get flooded. I think it is essential for Morpeth to get its flood defences sorted out. The morning of the floods, I took films of the river outside my house. The river was already nearly surrounding the trees on the grass in front of my house. By 10 o’clock my mother was worrying and getting us to pack our bags. Once we’d packed our bags we left my Dad in the house to lift all our furniture upstairs, then had to sprint over the footbridge to our car. Pure worriedness was what I was feeling for my Dad. He helped the grannies from the bungalows escape up the hill, then moved all of our furniture, even our sofas, up our narrow staircase. The week before he’s had a car crash and got whiplash. He told me that he saw sheds floating down the river then crashing into the shed. Our next door neighbour’s car floated away. By the time the fire brigade had got my Dad in a blow-up boat waves were streaming up our house drive. BETH WOOLLEY King Edward VI School

IN 2008 the town of Morpeth was hit by a catastrophic flood. Hundreds of homes were ruined and it affected thousands of lives. Luckily no one was killed. Not only did it leave people homeless, it also meant that people had to pay for hotel rooms or they had to ask friends or families to take them in. Not only did this leave people broke, it also left people embarrassed and gave people low self-esteem. The townspeople of Morpeth didn’t just suffer, but sports teams like the Morpeth Harriers, Morpeth Swimming Club and Morpeth FC, who recently changed their name to Morpeth Sporting Club, all of these clubs had to relocate because their facilities were contaminated with sewage water from the river, as well as their equipment. You might not know why I wrote this letter, but it is because I recently heard that the Environment Agency planned to put the much needed flood defences on hold, which I think means they will be scrapped. This distraughts me because if there is another flood people, companies and clubs could all be financially ruined, putting hundreds more on the unemployed list, which could ruin the local economy. I hope you realise how much of a mistake it would be to not give this town its much needed flood defences. ASHLEIGH HUNTER, Year 9 King Edward VI School

I BELIEVE that the Environment Agency needs to improve the flood defences in Morpeth. I think it is essential that they do this as: (a) Many people lost prized possessions in the flooding. (b) Many businesses suffered as a result of the flooding. (c) Many people’s houses that they have lived in for their whole life were flooded. The Environment Agency should open their eyes and see how devastating their actions of not building a flood defence may be. If they do not come to our rescue and see that we are in need of some help then that is just neglecting the people. ANON King Edward VI School

I AM writing this letter to inform you and to persuade you on the flood defences that Morpeth needs. On September 6, 2008, the banks of the River Wansbeck erupted and sent a storm of mud and water gushing through the estates that are unlucky to be right next to the river. On average, once a year the stepping stones in the River Wansbeck disappear under a fast and furious river. I propose the Government should build some defences to protect the unfortunate estates that been hit by the sheer power of the dreaded floods. Flood gates have been used in other towns that have been affected by the floods. Cockermouth in Cumbria has built flood gates to protect pathways, shops and buildings. These gates would prove useful in our community to protect the elderly and to give people time to evacuate from their homes to gain refuge in a secure building away from the water. When the floods did happen, a very close friend of mine had just moved into their house and just bought new furniture. They just thought that the rain was normal as through autumn it does tend to rain a lot, but what they didn’t know was that their house and their lives would change forever. Their dog died due to the sheer pressure of the water that drowned the poor animal. Could you really let this happen again? NIALL FOGGO, Year 9 King Edward VI School

I AM writing to inform you of my support for your campaign to try to improve Morpeth’s flood defences. I personally believe that it is criminal that the Environment Agency is doing nothing to support our area. The tragedies faced by many are frankly horrific. Two years have passed and nothing has been done to improve the situation. With worsening weather conditions becoming increasingly consistent, not just here but all over the world, it is essential that our flood defences be improved. Local businesses were destroyed, possession were ruined and lives were disrupted, yet still nothing is done. Already in the short time since the floods the river has come close to flooding many more times. The town can not afford another disaster like the one suffered in 2008. The Environment Agency has shown its selfishness though its actions and continues to disregard the feelings and lives of local people. JACK TAYLOR King Edward VI School

IN early September 2008 the River Wansbeck flooded Morpeth and nearly 1,000 homes. So many people were affected, some of those people were uninsured. The people who were insured got help with paying for the damage, but now it has happened once any insurance company won’t let them be insured again, especially not with ease. Some of the people who weren’t insured have paid thousands of pounds and still aren’t back in their houses. The reason I am writing to you is about an issue that has caused a lot of disturbance within the community. The money for flood defences has been put on hold due to Government cuts. If Morpeth was to flood again so many more people would be affected, some for the second time. In September 2008 I didn’t live in Morpeth, but some of my family and a lot of my friends did. A few of my friends and family were flooded, but many others had to help out and rescue people from their homes. The Morpeth Herald is launching a campaign and a petition because we don’t think it’s fair to have these funds taken away. This shows how much our town cares. I hope you take these views into consideration. KATIE WRIGHT, Year 9 King Edward VI School

I WOULD like to address the matter of the Environment Agency not installing the flood defences in Morpeth. This is not a smart decision and as a victim of the flood you can imagine my reaction when I was informed of this dreadful news. This will not benefit the town, but instead cause more problems. These include: the insurance prices soaring, many people moving, a risk to the people of Morpeth and a possible tourist reduction. You may argue that many people will not want a flood defence in their back garden, to which I respond, isn’t that better than having your house flooded again? And it is not just I who thinks this, many others do as well. So please fix this problem before me and my neighbours have to go through this long process again. BENJAMIN WELSH King Edward VI School

I AM writing to you today to inform you about the growing concern about the flood defences getting scrapped because of the Government cut-backs. On September 6, 2008, the River Wansbeck flooded and left Morpeth town in a balls-up situation. It flooded over into the streets, wrecking shops and homes nearby. The river rose more than six metres, covering most of the bridges. Some of my friends lived in the town, making me worry for their safety. When the rain finally stopped and the water descended back into the river banks it left an abhorrent sight. If you don’t build a flood barrier it would leave the residents of Morpeth living in fear. This was a devastating event, which left me scared of the power of nature, but recently it has been said that you are putting it on hold due to the Government cut-backs, leaving Morpeth still in a danger zone. As you may know, living in fear is against Human Rights so the barrier must be built or you are breaking their and my Human Rights. Also this disaster has now happened twice so I would think you would have the common sense to solve it. You know now what can happen so when are you going to deal with it? STEVEN WHITTLE, Year 9. King Edward VI School

I AM writing to you because I am quite frankly disgusted to have discovered that the flood defences planned for Morpeth have now been scrapped by the Environment Agency. Due to the impact of the River Wansbeck bursting its banks and flooding the whole town centre had on most of the population of Morpeth, I am outraged by the idea of scrapping the flood defences that were promised. September 6, 2008. This was the day Morpeth flooded. I was not personally affected, but friends of mine were. Belongings were ruined and possessions were destroyed. Homes that had memories and years of hard work were now meaningless. Can you imagine coming home from work and finding the beautiful home you left that same morning in tatters and shreds? To watch your car be swept down the river banks, along with your furniture? Telling your children everything will be alright although you’re clueless as to what will happen next? Thankfully, the population of Morpeth that lives on high ground were not affected, but the amount of families that were was appalling. Small children had to watch as their parents were giving everything they had to save what was left of their broken homes. I leave you with the decision to go ahead with the idea of flood defences and let people whom were previously affected by the flood know that it can be prevented. Or do you want to leave families sitting in fear every time the river rises? Take this into consideration. SARAH KELLY, Year 9 King Edward VI School

I HAVE recently been informed that the Environment Agency plans to scrap flood defence programmes. My take on this action is that it is preposterous and could endanger many lives. Think of the elderly residents who had to be rescued from water that was above their waists. The next time a flood this bad hits Morpeth they might not be so lucky. I personally was not affected by the flooding, but my friend was left homeless for months. I saw photographs of her house’s interior and I was horrified to see how much of her house had been completely removed by the currents of the river. Her mother was devastated by the loss of family photos and heirlooms. She told me that her insurance has risen through the roof since September 6, 2008, and almost had to declare bankruptcy as she cannot even sell her house because the price it was valued at was much lower than it had been before the flood. Obviously, my friend and her family were only one of many people suffering the consequences of nature, and many others will be facing the same debt problems as them. Finally, if the defences aren’t put in tourism will hit rock bottom as no one will want to shop at the shiny new arcade when the town is trading through 3ft of dirty water. The Environment Agency will have a huge problem if they go through with the cancellation. EMILY HALL King Edward VI School

I AM writing to express my concern about the decision the Environment Agency made not to put in the flood defences Morpeth definitely needs. As an inhabitant of Longhorsley, a small village close to Morpeth, I know of the affects it had on the community. People’s lives have changed drastically since the floods. Many of my friends had their homes washed away, destroying all their belongings such as toys, clothes, furniture and irreplaceable photographs and memories. They had to find alternative homes and places to stay while the insurance, if they had any, slowly paid and helped them try to rebuild their lives. If the defences aren’t built, this disaster could repeat itself. Now, because of this, people cannot get insurance and the people lucky enough to have to pay an enormous amount. People are trying to move, but since the floods no one has managed to sell. The people in the houses at risk are scared and need the Environment Agency’s help. ROWENA MARSHALL King Edward VI School

I AM writing to you due to the decision of not putting up the flood defences. The decision, in my opinion, has not been thought through properly. As I saw first hand the floods in 2008 and the devastation it caused to so many people, I think the decision needs to be re-thought. If the floods happened again, I’m sure that more money would have to be paid for that than for flood defences. As well as this factor, people are going to have to go through this nightmare again. Everyone scared that it could happen again. The decision could also have an affect on Morpeth. People could move away and consequently people may not want to buy a house in the Morpeth area. Tourism could also be affected because of people being too scared of what might happen. The new Sanderson Arcade might go bankrupt if not enough people are buying. The risks of ignoring getting flood defences in, in my opinion, is a lot greater than buying them and I think many people will agree. I hope you take this letter into account. EMMA BOISTON King Edward VI School

I AM writing to tell you that I am appalled at the fact that you are even considering deciding not to carry through previous plans and build the flood defences in Morpeth. The ways that the Government is deciding to spend the tax-payers’ hard-earned money is shocking, especially with the recent increase in revenue. Money should be spent on things that the public will be grateful for and will actually be beneficial for them, such as flood defences and mending roads. The floods were a genuine danger to locals, the town was filled with dangerous sewage and silt that had overflowed through drains and broken pipes. Why should people have to suffer this? I ask you, how would you feel if your home and business and your livelihood were destroyed, the price of your house severely dropped and all for something that could have so easily been prevented? Because this has already happened to some people, who are dreading it happening again. If Morpeth has a high risk of flooding, this could reduce the amount of tourists. Attractions will also decrease, for example the beautiful old buildings and churches that were destroyed, and the library. Please reconsider your decision. BETH SPROSTON King Edward VI School

I AM writing to express my concern about the recent news that the new flood defences will not be built. First off, I would like to say that this is shocking as there is no reason to suggest why these flood defences should not be built. First of all, it will have a massive impact on people’s lives because they will find it more difficult to take out insurance therefore will not be able to financially protect their livelihood. Second, though thankfully no one was killed, next time you may not be so lucky, and third and finally, if flooding does occur again we could lose so much, including schools and irreplaceable landmarks. EMILY WESS King Edward VI School

I AM writing to you to tell you how bad an idea it is to cancel the Morpeth flood defences because I experienced these floods first hand, or the damage at least, and people’s lives have been ruined by the floods — their cars, homes and possessions. I even know some people who have not yet got their lives back and it has been two-and-a-half years. Just think how much insurance prices have gone up in Morpeth since the flood happened, and because of this a lot of people will have moved away because of the dangers and risks with living in Morpeth. Also because of the floods, Morpeth’s economy will have dropped because of a diminishing tourist rate. Just think to yourself how much money you would have spent on getting your life back. What you would feel if one of your family members got swept away and how much you would hate someone doing if you lived in Morpeth. CURTIS ADAM JEFFERY King Edward VI School

I AM writing to express my concern on the decision made by the Government to not build the flood defences by the River Wansbeck that runs through Morpeth because myself and many others believe it is an incorrect decision. I was not affected directly by the flood, other than my school closing for a period of time. However, I saw first hand the devastation and distress the flooding caused to people in Morpeth. People’s homes and houses were destroyed and their lives ruined. I can’t believe you would want that on your conscience if it ever happened again. If you do not build the flood defences think about how much this could affect Morpeth in the future. Insurance prices would rocket up because insurance companies wouldn’t want to take the risk of paying out house to house. The population of Morpeth could drop from people both not being able to pay insurance from the reluctant companies and people just not wanting their houses to flood moving away. ALEXANDER PEARCE King Edward VI School

I AM writing to you because I am concerned about not getting the flood defences in Morpeth that we so desperately need. The reason why I am mentioning this subject is because there is a serious problem and there needs to be something done about it. Would you like your home and precious possessions taken away from you? The floods affected everyone in some way, either by being personally involved or a friend or family member of those unlucky people. If there is nothing that is going to occur my friends’ lives will basically be destroyed again by this natural disaster. It was absolutely heart-breaking to see my friends go through this. I don’t want it to happen again, do you? The natural disaster almost destroyed Morpeth’s community. Insurance prices would increase dramatically, or not be given out at all. People would start to move away from Morpeth if nothing is done. Danger and risks would rise causing even more upset. Furthermore, tourist reduction would occur because Morpeth would be basically ruined. I hope you think about this and consider my points. MEGHANN KERR King Edward VI School

I AM writing to you to express my concerns for Morpeth’s safety. I believe the residents of Morpeth are in danger of future flooding as the Environment Agency are clearly a group of people that are unaffected by natural occurrences such as flooding. People’s lives have gone into nothing but a soggy, wet, damp mess ever since the flood several years ago. Now people will start leaving Morpeth. Frequent flooding — global warming is causing more natural disasters, such as drought, tornados, hurricanes, earthquakes and floods. Surely as this country is only moderately affected by one of these disasters, the Environment Agency can do something about it.

I am sure that the good residents of Morpeth and the surrounding areas would be very happy if flood barriers were installed by the Environment Agency so they could have an adequate population with satisfactory insurance to cover what may possibly happen to them even without floods. I would like to finish on the note that is these barriers are not installed, the good people of Morpeth would gain a very unpleasant experience. BLAIR CARMICHAEL King Edward VI School

I AM writing to express my alarming concerns over the dismissal of previous plans for flood defences in Morpeth. I have two principal reasons as to why the retraction of those actions is immoral and dangerous. My first reason is the moral objections I have, which plague me and any other compassionate individuals. Residents of Morpeth and those who operate a business in the town have suffered greatly due to the floods in 2008. Residents not only endured the emotional impacts of the flood, such as disruption to their lives and the loss of photos and so on with sentimental value, but they are also enduring the economic impacts. The flood resulted in a rapid increase in the cost of home insurance, which is near impossible for some families to meet. This means residents are unable to leave the area, which prolongs their emotional traumas as no sane person will purchase a house at risk from future flooding. I can identify no valid reason why their emotional traumas and economic nightmares should be prolonged which has sufficient benefits to justify this. Furthermore, in the last two years the town has lost many small businesses due to a decrease in revenue, much of which was revenue lost because residents couldn’t indulge in luxuries any more due to extreme insurance bills. If you allow the flood defences to be cast aside you are also allowing Morpeth to be cast aside. My second point is the dangers you impose upon yourselves. By disposing of this scheme, the public see you to be colluding to allow future upsets and disruptions to haunt people. You are therefore causing detriment to your previous credible reputation. Not only I, as an onlooker to your mistreatment and indifference towards Morpeth, am appalled and disgusted, but so is Morpeth and the surrounding areas. I seriously recommend you reconsider the dismissal of flood defences in Morpeth. If this decision cannot be influenced by compassion for this scarred town, let it be driven by greed. If you don’t change your decision you are risking a terminal end to support and participation from Morpeth and its neighbouring towns. I trust you will respond appropriately to this serious matter. ELLENA LEATHERLAND, Year 10 King Edward VI School

I AM writing to talk about what is happening to our human rights. Right Number 30 of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that ‘no one can take away your human rights’. Explain to me how the coalition can scrap that right and get rid of our human rights. They seem to have started on this already in our town in Morpeth. It states in Right 14 ‘the right to seek a safe place to live’. If we scrapped rebuilding the flood barriers in Morpeth that is subtracting one of our human rights. What happens if another monstrous flood is going to come and demolish our little village again? The horrible encounter of one of nature’s most deadly things awoke in September of 2008 in a whole load of towns and cities around the United Kingdom. They were faced with a terrifying ordeal with national floods. They arose for a lot of shops in Morpeth and around the UK to be out of business for about six months. This is unless they were a big company, such as WH Smith, who would be back and running in about one month. This is having the whole shop restored and put back to normal. I leave you with a couple of things to think about. Who in the massive area of the United Kingdom would want to have an ordeal like a flood happen again? Do you? Citizens of the United Kingdom, I ask you this question, which means a lot to me and probably you, do you want another ordeal like that? I know I don’t, but without flood barriers what is going to stop more September showers causing a whole load more enormous floods. Nothing, it will just cause the flood level being ten times the size of the one from 2008. ALEX CREIGHTON, Year 9. King Edward VI School

I AM writing on the subject of the Morpeth flood defences being postponed. I am disgusted by the Government postponing the Morpeth flood defences. Many people who did not have insurance are still trying to recover from the flooding, and not just houses, but businesses and churches, even three years after the flood. The next time a flood of this magnitude happens and we don’t have flood defences, thousands of people with or without insurance, everyone who lives next to the river, will have to pay thousands of pounds of excess. As well as people being forced out of their houses and paying thousands of pounds for repairs, the whole town was engulfed in a stench of horrible things. There were hundreds of rats scurrying all over Morpeth, there were hundreds of homeless people. People were enjoying their lives, then the flood came and completely demolished their lives. Churches could not open for months. All of Morpeth went to a complete standstill. People were too afraid to go in their car if water got in the engine and they broke down and had to pay thousands of pounds to repair them. Now the Government wants to postpone the flood defences, leaving us defenceless so this could happen again. They will have to pay twice as much in repairs and compensation putting things right. CAMERON THOMAS King Edward VI School

ON the day of the floods I was really quite lucky because I live in Stobhill. A lot of my friends got hit though. I personally think that the Environment Agency should put up some flood defences due to the horrendous flood. We had no idea what was coming. One of my friends comes from a very large family of about eight. She lives in High Stanners and was really hit quite bad. She was out of her house for at least three months, living on a farm about a mile away. The people around her were all flooded very bad as well. In my experience I was at home while my living room was being wallpapered. The man who was papering lived in Ashington and struggled to get home due to the roads being closed off. I think that the Environment Agency is being selfish. The flood in Morpeth was one of the worst and since then nothing has been done to stop it from happening again. Please fix this so that the people of Morpeth won’t be victims to another horrible flood. ESTHER EARLE King Edward VI School

I BELIEVE it’s essential that the Environment Agency should sort out the flood defence. Nearly three years ago the Morpeth floods happened. Lots of people’s homes got destroyed and their lives were interrupted by these floods. Nothing has still not been done about it. They’ve just tried to raise money to help the flood victims. What if this happened again? What are they going to do? Just let this happen and start raising money again? No, this needs sorting out. The first flood wall didn’t work so why don’t they make a plan for something else, like using water pumps? Something needs to be sorted out instead of just thinking the floods are over and done with. This can always happen again. Please try to help the flood victims. SHANNON TROTTER King Edward VI School

HOW could you just sit there and watch a small, peaceful, homely town such as Morpeth be washed away and not do anything? Since the 2008 flood what have you done? You could easily put flood barriers up. TOBY MEW King Edward VI School

I AM writing to you because I believe that it is essential that the Environment Agency needs to sort out defences so we can avoid the local flooding. Morpeth is a popular north east town and I am concerned that it will happen again, and I am sure you are. We are not wealthy and have our own unique problems. The flood in 2008 has caused people many problems, from losing valuables to whole homes and businesses. I hope you can really help and come to our rescue. ANON King Edward VI School

I AM writing this letter to try to persuade the Environment Agency to save Morpeth and other towns from ever flooding again. Morpeth is a truly magnificent town in which people enjoy beautiful sights. However, one day, September 5, 2008, Morpeth experienced one of the worst floods for 63 years. Morpeth has had such a good history and in this day and age I do not believe floods should happen. I myself was not personally involved in the flood, but seeing the River Wansbeck rise rapidly was all too much. The sight after the flood was truly devastating. It had completely demolished many of the houses, lives would be transformed. Morpeth has experienced floods before, but the Environment Agency has done nothing about it. I am making sure this does not happen again. Picture perfect houses have been ruined and I am pretty sure if it was you you would want something done to make sure their lives are not destroyed once again. If the Environment Agency does not do anything about some flood defences it just proves how selfish they are. AMY THOMAS King Edward VI School

I AM writing about the flood on September 6, 2008. A devastating, powerful, destructive wave of terror swept through a canyon of defenceless houses all in five minutes. Why would you think about stopping defences for lots of families? And then you triple their insurance bill. Would you like it? Then you wonder why you get these complains. What about the people with no insurance? If you put the defences in, in the long run it will save you money and calm the damaged people. We are in a town built on tourism. Do you want to take the history and livelihood away and people’s houses? As you know, people are protective of their history. The town might crumble and cease to exist. This will disappoint lots of people and waste time and money. You will take away the town’s dignity, and then there is fear and devastation to people of all ages. You can be traumatised. This is a worry and not right because of human rights. It has helped some people in businesses and homes, this is inevitably a small proportion. Next time it will devastate more lives and put people in debt. Thank you for reading. Now take on board. NATHANIEL PULLAN King Edward VI School

I AM writing to you about the events that happened in Morpeth on September 6, 2008. Many people know about the devastating events that happened, but for the people who don’t know what happened, Morpeth was destroyed by the devastating flood of the Wansbeck river. This forced thousands of people out of their homes. It took many months for them to have their houses fully repaired for them to move back into. Morpeth town centre is a ditch with a river running through it. Luckily, some of the houses are at the top of the hill so they did not get damaged, but the people who lived at the bottom of the ditch makes them in danger of being flooded every time it heavily rains. We were all heavily relieved when we heard that we had been promised flood defences, but now they are thinking of scrapping the whole plan of getting the flood defences. This is shocking and we need to fight to keep the flood defences being built. We need these flood defences because we will not be able to afford to quickly repair Morpeth as fast as we did last time. People will be afraid to buy the wonderful houses next to the river. We will get smaller businesses not buying shops in Morpeth because they are afraid of the river. HENRY RONK King Edward VI School

I AM writing to inform you about the Morpeth floods in early September 2008. Some of us have recently found out that you are postponing giving Morpeth much better flood defences. If you are definitely going to postpone it you are probably going to spend your money on something daft and forget about Morpeth and the flood defences. One of the biggest reasons we need these extra defences is because they are incredibly low at the minute and if Morpeth floods again it will be worse than before. People are still working extra time just to repair their houses, but they are still inhabitable as there are rats running around the place, as well as dirty water. Some people have spent at least £30,000 or more just for one floor of their house and you would get a lot more complaints if people found out you were stopping this. Some people in higher parts of Morpeth were not affected and neither were people who live outside of Morpeth, like myself. Some people I know have been severely affected and have had to move house and their children’s schools. Think of it this way — would you rather have people know they would be safe if the river levels rose again, or people in fear of their house being flooded again? ALEX BROWN, Year 9 King Edward VI School

THE floods of 2008 wrecked havoc and brought devastation to the inhabitants of this beautiful town of Morpeth. What would happen if it occurred again? If this happened, it wouldn’t only be the families who have neither the money or insurance to rebuild their homes that would suffer over a prolonged period of time. The next time, it will also be the people whose insurance has increased due to the nightmare events that had unfolded and could be prevented. Insurance companies will have already increased their prices. What we need is good flood defences so they have no cause to increase them again. You promised us these flood defences. We understand that cuts have been made, but we desperately need you to push forward this helpful deed. Due to the climate changing, our beloved river will burst its banks again and sweep through our streets. You wouldn’t want this to happen would you? The longer you delay, the more frequent it will become. You are taking away Morpeth community’s safety and security. ELLEN TIFFIN and SARAH SEXTON, Year 10 King Edward VI School

I AM writing to you to express my concerns about the Environment Agency not wanting to build the flood defence barriers here in Morpeth. In 2008 the flood happened in Morpeth. Lots of people were trapped in their homes and all the fire brigades and the police had to help young, middle aged and elderly people into a dry, warm place, where they could eat and sleep. A lot of people have lost their homes and are still recovering three years down the line and have lost some valuable and memorable things which they will never get back. My friends and family were very shocked to see that the homes insurance has gone up just because the Environment Agency didn’t bother to put flood defence barriers in. Imagine how it will affect tourists in the future. KAYLEIGH TOLHURST King Edward VI School

I AM writing to you to express my concern about the Environment Agency’s decision to not have flood defences in Morpeth. Firstly, I would like to state that I have seen the effects that the flooding has had, for example people having to move out of their houses and stay with friends. I believe that by having flood defences people wouldn’t have to worry as much. Several of my friends were affected and some were even trapped in their houses. Secondly, there could be a possible tourist reduction because of the fact that Morpeth isn’t protected from future floods. Other effects Morpeth will have in the future are: people moving away and dangers and risks to Morpeth residents. To sum up, I think that we should have flood defences in Morpeth for reasons such as the possible dangers that could happen in the future. ERIN RUTHERFORD King Edward VI School

I AM writing to you to show my concern about the Environment Agency’s decision to not put any flood defences in Morpeth. I myself was not affected by the flood, but I know many who were, including my next door neighbour and close friend. If flood defences are not put in Morpeth it could put people in the future at more risk and because of global warming it is almost certain that the river will flood again in the future. If flood defences are not put up and it floods again, insurance companies won’t want to insure people’s houses that are at potential danger of being flooded. Also, the flooding would drive people away from Morpeth and cause others to move from Morpeth. Altogether, not putting up flood defences is a terrible idea. ALISON RUSSO King Edward VI School

I WOULD like to talk to you about the matter of not installing the flood defences. In my opinion, that was a terrible mistake. Insurance prices will most likely go up and if people move away because of your decision the population of Morpeth will start to decrease. If these floods happen again next to homes of disabled or small children they may get injured or even drowned. Also there might be a possible tourist reduction, then less profit will be made. A few of my friends and family did not benefit from this natural disaster that was not dealt with. They ended up moving further away. And so I ask you to re-think your decision and do something about it, rather than nothing. CASEY YOUNG King Edward VI School

I AM writing to you to stress my strong emotions about the delaying of the flood defence barriers being built by the Environment Agency. I think this is shocking. We need protection from the floods that will be coming more frequently because of the global warming. The reasons that we need these barriers put up are: so that flooding can’t happen again; stops population of Morpeth decreasing; more job opportunities for check ups etc. I advise you to start this project immediately so that we don’t have a repeat of September 2008. This could also lead to more tourist attractions. If you don’t then you will have to pay a lot of insurance to us and I don’t think you want that, do you?

If not then please reconsider your choice of shutting this project down. I hope you choose wisely. PHILIP DAWSON King Edward VI School

I AM writing to inform you of my distress over the discussions that the Environment Agency are going to terminate the plans to protect the town of Morpeth and its population from floods that are likely to occur in the future. Although in 2008 some people benefited from the floods through insurance claims and received big money pay outs, new furniture etc, the next time these companies will not be as generous. Also the premium on the houses will increase. Growing families cannot afford to pay these repairs treacherous flooding will cause. Furthermore, there were some cases where families were not insured and their houses are still ruined three years on from the event. Some people will never recover from the effects of September 6, 2008. This is why it is so vital in order to give the people of Morpeth peace of mind. Imagine the anxiety that goes through the people in danger’s mind every time it starts to rain. Can you let them live like this? Because I can’t. Over 100 families were directly affected. Not one of them were able to have Christmas in their own homes. The Morpeth council and the Environment Agency can’t let this happen again, no matter the financial crisis. ELLIE MONTGOMERY, Year 9 King Edward VI School

THE floods on September 6, 2008, destroyed the majority of Morpeth town centre, including homes and businesses. Luckily no one died, but it ruined hundreds of lives. People’s possessions, children’s toys and people’s furniture were either swept away or unsafe to have any more. September 6 was the day of panic. The water was rapidly rising and people were having to evacuate their homes. The residents helped elderly and tried to save as much as they could. They left their houses not knowing whether they would ever be the same again. High Stanners and Mitford Road were one of the worst affected areas. Firefighters rescued stranded people from their houses, then residents were taken to King Edward VI School where they were given food and shelter. Reality had kicked in. Flood defences need to stay in Morpeth because if not in place people’s lives and homes will be in jeopardy. Home owners will not be able to afford to redecorate and furnish their homes if a flood occurs again. If there is another flood and the flood defences don’t exist people will not be advised whether it is safe enough to come out of their houses or wait for help. They will also not be warned of the speed that the water is rising and unfortunately, there are people who will have left it too late. I hope you will take my concerns on board and realised that if we do not keep the defences people’s lives will be at risk. People deserve to feel safe in their homes and not be worried every time it rains that next time it floods there may not be anyone to help them. CHARLOTTE MILLER, Year 9 King Edward VI School

I AM writing this to say how the floods of 2008 affected so many people in so many different ways, some more than others. Firstly, I am going to tell you about my friend, who was affected quite badly by the floods. Her house got flooded, mostly at the bottom of her house, but it flooded a bit upstairs as well. All of her downstairs belongings were damaged badly. The kitchen was destroyed and the only thing still able to use were a few plates. The family had to wait three months before they could move back in, but still the devastation stays with them. They thought that they would not be able to replace most of their stuff, but luckily they had insurance so then they could get brand new furniture, kitchen, carpets and wallpaper. Some areas around Morpeth were very unfortunate, but I was very lucky. I didn’t, thanks to my neighbours who voluntarily put sandbags out to stop the river getting further. I believe it is important that the Environment Agency does not pull the plug on the scheme for the flood defences because we don’t want to risk 1,000 or more people to be flooded again. I mean, we never know, more people might get flooded. The flood defence scheme benefits everyone. CHLOE CARLISLE, Year 9 King Edward VI School

I AM writing to you to tell you about my experience with the Morpeth floods in 2008. Luckily my home was not flooded, but I was still affected. On the day of the floods, me and my Mum, ironically, were going to the swimming baths outside of Morpeth. It had been raining heavily for a while and large puddles were appearing all over the roads in Morpeth. We realised the route we were moving through was not going to be worth the risk when we saw a car in front of us was being dragged out of a puddle that was so deep it reached the car’s door handle. We tried a second route, but again we were unsuccessful. It had now been raining for about three hours and half of Morpeth was flooded. We decided it wasn’t worth the risk so we turned the car around and attempted to set off home. The only issue was that we couldn’t actually get back as our main route home was blocked off so the only other option was to walk. I had not anticipated having to walk home so all that I had brought with me for warmth was a thin jumper so by the time I got home I was cold, tired and completely drenched. My Dad had spent hours trying to get home as the roads leading to Morpeth were busy and some were blocked off. This is the small way the floods affected me. Others in Morpeth were more dramatically affected. Morpeth needs the flood defences, otherwise people’s homes are destroyed by water damage. It makes it much harder for people in Morpeth to sell their homes and harder still to get insurance. Homes and lives could be destroyed without these flood defences. JENNY SAVAGE King Edward VI School

I HAVE an idea to prevent horrible, family-destroying natural disasters which ruin people’s lives. This time I am looking at stopping floods. There was a flood in September 2008 in my home town. Luckily, I wasn’t affected by this because I live on a hill, but I’ve heard many soul-destroying stories and I saw it on the news. Cars were floating down the street and sign posts were falling over. Bottoms of bridges were non-existent. People lost all their belongings. Pets were drowning with no one to help them. KATIE JACKSON King Edward VI School

ON September 6, 2008, the River Wansbeck burst its banks and flooded the town of Morpeth. Many people were affected as their homes and businesses were destroyed by the flooding. After the floods the people of Morpeth were promised extra flood defences by the Government. These could prevent Morpeth from flooding a second time. Recently, the Government released a statement saying the £16m flood defence project had been scrapped due to budget cuts. I am writing to express my outrage at this project being scrapped. Another flood will devastate the riverside houses and businesses, forcing many people to move and businesses to close. The flood defences could prevent disaster, and I believe protecting the people of Morpeth is more important than budget cuts. The Government needs to protect the people from a second flood and assist those in need. Even after the Government intervened, many people still had to pay thousands of pounds to make their houses liveable. The Government needs to prevent a second flood. This year I saw with my own eyes how high the river was. We need these flood defences to protect us from impending doom. The environment was devastated by the flooding as many shelters and food sources for animals were destroyed. I hope after reading this you reconsider scrapping the flood defences. I thank you for reading this and listening to my point of view and I ask you, what if it were you? JACK MACKEL, Year 9 King Edward VI School

I AM writing to tell you about my friend’s experience of the Morpeth flood. There were ruined roads, destroyed houses, cars smashed and lives crushed. OWEIN EVANS King Edward VI School

I AM writing to show my support for your campaign about the Morpeth flooding. I believe it is essential that the Environment Agency sort out the flood defences to make sure that nothing like this happens again. I think it’s appalling that nothing has been done since the flooding in 2008. Many people were affected by the devastating events in 2008. People’s homes and personal belongings were destroyed, people became homeless and had to find other accommodation. My grandmother, grandfather, uncle and late great-grandmother were all affected by the flooding. My grandmother and grandfather had to live in other accommodation for over six months, whilst my late great-grandmother and uncle were sent to live in care homes for a period of time. Something should be done about this as soon as possible to stop more devastation. KAYLEIGH MOFFAT King Edward VI School

I AM writing this letter of concern about the floods that I’m sure you know of that shocked Morpeth. I think that there should be better defences. This is because, as I’m sure you know, the wall along Middle Greens did not work. However, there should not be a wall down the Stanners because that will be a horrible thing to look at. ETHAN MARSHALL King Edward VI School

I AM writing to you to tell you my concerns about the Morpeth floods. The defences didn’t work and nothing has been improved since. One of my mate’s houses was flooded and almost everything he owned was swept away. CONNOR MASON King Edward VI School

I THINK it is essential that the Environment Agency sorts out the flood defences in Morpeth as soon as possible. I knew a lad and a lass who had to go up to KEVI School and give cups of tea to old people. I think how upset they would have been without their parents knowing that they could drown. CAMERON WAGSTAFF King Edward VI School

I THINK it is essential that the Environment Agency should do better to protect our houses from natural disasters, mainly flooding since there is a large river going through out town (Morpeth). In September 2008 we had the awful floods that destroyed people’s homes. The fact that some people had to wait six or more months to be able to go back inside their home is disgraceful. People lost possessions, homes, places to sleep, animals etc. No one should have to face this. FIONA MATTHEWSON King Edward VI School

I BELIEVE that the Environment Agency should make defences to Morpeth so our houses are safe to live in when and if the floods did come back. I think it is essential to change the houses that could be affected by the flood. About three years ago in 2008 Morpeth was affected by the floods. For a couple of days we had torrential rain and then eventually the river burst its banks. A lot of people’s homes got destroyed by these floods. Luckily, everyone was helped to get their homes back to normal again, but from now on they have not made any changes to Morpeth town to protect our houses and keep us all safe so I insist there should be something done to protect my family and friends. JOSIE MCCRETON King Edward VI School

I AM writing to talk to you about the decision of getting flood walls for Morpeth and other related areas of the flood. It is true I haven’t had any first experience of a flood, but my Uncle Bryan White had his shop flooded and ruined the front wall and window to the TV repair shop, and had to pay thousands of pounds for a new wall and for the equipment. Another sigh, as his home had also been affected by this flood and he lost most of his belongings in it. I am arguing to bring the flood walls into Morpeth and other places to prevent floods and the expenses of them, and even worse, death. Please take this letter and change your mind. MATTHEW THOMPSON King Edward VI School

I AM writing in concern of the flood defences in Morpeth. Having been one of the many people flooded on September 6, 2008, I feel very strongly about this. The flood affected my life, and others I know who were flooded, greatly, and I think that flood defences should be put in place to stop it happening again. When my house was flooded I had to move away from where I’d grown up and leave my life behind. The floods also affected my 80-year-old friend, who had to move house and she became very ill. A lot of my friends that I have grown up with were affected and it changed our lives. Because of this, Morpeth should have flood defences. After the floods, my family, friends and I were relieved to hear about the plans for flood defences and felt very disappointed and let down when we were told the plans weren’t going ahead. I don’t think it is acceptable for the Environment Agency to make us these promises if they don’t plan to keep them. I hope the Environment Agency goes back on itself and gives Morpeth the promised flood defences. ANNIE EDGE, Year 10 King Edward VI School

AS I’m sure you are aware, flooding can have devastating effects to anywhere in the world. Unfortunately, here in Morpeth we have experienced these catastrophic events so I feel that it is essential that the Environment Agency puts up flood barriers/defences to stop further devastation. It has become a very large talking point; the floods of Morpeth. The fact that nothing has been done since September 2008 is a scandal. Our town is a beautiful and smashing town that tourists enjoy to travel to to experience stunning beauty. In early September 2008 though, this all changed. Torrential rain water smashed our town to pieces. I was stranded in central Morpeth — stranded. Luckily for me, nothing bad technically happened to me. However, elsewhere animals were taken away, businesses were ruined and families lost possessions. All these events are all shocking and we’ll hope that in the future no floods will happen like those in Boscastle. If you don’t do anything Environment Agency, the British economy will be ruined with prices of emergency services. Come to our rescue — we know you can. JONATHAN WINFIELD King Edward VI School

I AM writing to you to address the problem of flooding in Morpeth and Rothbury to the Environment Agency. After the floods in September 2008 the flood defences are shocking and MUST be improved. They were very bad even before the floods and that should have been sorted before any of these floods. All day it rained, cattle got stuck on islands, cars got washed away, the rivers got up to heights never reached before, bridges became too unsafe to cross. Even worse, people’s homes started to fill up with water, destroying their precious belongings. Businesses, farms, crops — think of all those. So while the Environment Agency sits at home doing unnecessary paperwork, we all suffer. Hope the Environment Agency take this into consideration. ALICE WADE, Year 9 King Edward VI School

AS I’m sure you are aware, in the year 2008 Morpeth was affected by devastating floods. Literally thousands of people were affected, both directly and indirectly. Now the new flood defence scheme is in threat of being scrapped by the Environment Agency. Even if you weren’t affected directly, many people had either close family or friends affected by the floods. Many people helped house the flood victims for several months; these people’s lives were changed drastically for this period of time. If the flood defences aren’t built, this could quite easily happen again after a long period of heavy rain. This can not happen. In the several months following the floods families had to struggle to find somewhere to live as their houses were being resurrected by builders fixing severely flood damaged buildings. People who did not have the right insurance cover were also losing out on thousands of pounds, which some families can not afford. This is wrong. Now you have to understand how the natural environment has been damaged. Many animals’ habitats or homes had been broken or washed away by the relentless power of the flood. If you were to walk past the bridges in Morpeth on the day you would have noticed that some of the weaker trees had been swept up and had then got caught against the bridge. We should not have let this happen. The point I have tried to make is that if Morpeth had had some form of flood defence system already built, none of this would have happened and the citizens of Morpeth, instead of spending the months they did in other people’s homes, could have been sitting at home watching TV as a family. So if this is to not happen again we should build Morpeth some flood defences as soon as possible. JOHN KELLY King Edward VI School