Go-ahead sought for flood defence

PLANNING permission for Morpeth’s flood alleviation scheme will be sought — even if no funding is given for next year.

The Morpeth Flood Action Group (MFAG) was told the news in an update by Phil Welton of the Environment Agency and Ruth Bendell from Northumberland County Council.

Members heard that £350,000 has been allocated for detailed design work and ground investigation.

And before an application is submitted, the project board is aiming to hold a public consultation within the next six months.

An extra £250,000 was found from the Flood Defence Grant in Aid pot to add to the £100,000 allocated from the Agency’s Local Levy fund.

It was also mentioned that under new legislation, the county council is the lead local flood authority and will be able to identify who is accountable for various aspects of any future flood, which will include the areas of responsibility for Northumbrian Water.

MFAG Chairman Alan Bell said: “We’re pleased that a planning application is going to be submitted whatever happens with the project’s funding for next year.

“Now we want Northumbrian Water to collaborate on flood prevention measures as early as possible.

“We think it preferable that they join the Environment Agency and the county council to bring their skills and knowledge to bear as part of the solution.”

Works to address surface water issues and improve the Cotting Burn and Church Burn were recently added to the scheme after they were originally planned as separate projects.

A revised business case for funding will be put forward to the Environment Agency’s national board and in the autumn it will decide whether the scheme should be progressed in the next financial year.