Flood scheme’s burn project set to begin

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

The penultimate phase of Morpeth’s multi-million flood alleviation scheme is due to start on the Cotting Burn this month.

Work to reduce the risk of flooding on the burn will include an upstream storage area and dam on a smaller scale to the one on the River Wansbeck at Mitford.

This will enable it to have more capacity during high flows – better protecting homes and businesses from flooding.

The project is an important part of the Environment Agency and Northumberland County Council’s joint £27million flood alleviation scheme to reduce the risk of river flooding in Morpeth.

The first stage of the Cotting Burn initiative, which is set to start this week, involves a site compound and improved road access being set up at Pottery Bank.

Work will then start on constructing the flood storage area. This will take around six months to complete.

Coun Ian Swithenbank, the county council’s cabinet member for local services, said: “The Morpeth flood alleviation scheme has already protected properties in the town and this latest phase will see flood risk reduced to homes and businesses on the Cotting Burn, meaning the town is even better protected for the future.

“Obviously, major works of this type bring with them a certain level of disruption, but I know the Environment Agency is doing everything possible to keep disruption to residents to a minimum and keep them informed and updated.

“I’d like to personally thank residents for their continued patience while this latest part of the scheme is completed.”

Later this month, work is also due to start on the installation of a series of tree poles upstream of Low Ford Bridge on the River Wansbeck.

A number of poles will be installed to span the river, catching trees and other large debris before it reaches the town.

This will help to prevent damage and blockages to bridges and structures downstream.

The official opening of Morpeth’s flood alleviation scheme took place in August last year. It marked the completion of one of the largest flood storage reservoirs ever built by the Environment Agency.

The upstream storage area and dam on the Mitford Estate works by storing up to 1.4 million cubic metres of water when river levels are high and would otherwise cause flooding.

It operated for the first time during heavy rain in January, which the agency said prevented flooding to dozens of properties next to the River Wansbeck.

New defences have also been built in the town, and existing defences improved, as part of the scheme.

These include a new flood wall, embankment and flood gates at High Stanners and works to improve protection in Middle Greens, Pretoria Avenue, Mitford Road and the areas around St George’s Church and St Robert’s Church.

The final phase involves various works to address surface water flooding at several locations in the town. This is scheduled for completion in 2017 at a cost of £1million.

The Morpeth flood scheme, which protects around 1,000 homes and businesses in the town, is the largest flood protection project in the North East and includes £12million funding from the county council.