Morpeth falls short of standards for funding

MORPETH has fallen well short of the required standard to get funding for its flood defence project.

A reduction in the Environment Agency’s flood management allocation has meant that the outcome measures (OM) threshold – which takes into account factors such as economic benefits, number of properties protected and deprived households at risk – for 2011/12 has been raised to 14.

Morpeth has a score of 5.06 under the system and so it is set to be one of the schemes which is deferred, with a final decision to be made by the agency’s Board next month.

Richard Davies, Regional Flood and Coastal Risk Programme Manager, said: “Anything above five was deemed above the bar just months ago but the rules of the game have changed.

“Officers have spent a lot of time on this scheme and if it does not go ahead as planned we will all be very disappointed.”

At a meeting of the Northumbria Regional Flood Defence Committee (RFDC), it was revealed that the Neasham Flood Alleviation Scheme and reservoir remedial works is set to receive £4million in 2011/12 – up from £32,000 in the proposed (indicative) allocation.

Ian Hodge, Area Flood and Coastal Risk Manager for the Environment Agency, said this rise for the village near Darlington was because works had to be carried out to meet reservoirs regulations.

A total of £4million was originally going to be allocated to the Morpeth scheme, but when asked by the committee if it was possible to transfer the Neasham money to Morpeth, Mr Hodge said: “Even if we didn’t do the Neasham works, the funds would go back into the national pot and be given to a scheme next in the queue depending on the OM score.”