Letter raises hopes for flood defence funding

HOPES have been raised by Environment Agency Chairman Lord Smith that Morpeth’s flood defence project may yet secure some funding.

Earlier this month Wansbeck MP Ian Lavery presented the Herald’s 4,000-name petition and 145 children’s letters to the agency chief, calling for flood protection works to be reinstated in the 2011/12 budget and for the £17million alleviation project to go ahead as promised.

Now Lord Smith has replied to our campaign, saying he is deeply aware of the impact of the September 2008 Morpeth flood and is grateful for the show of support for the alleviation scheme.

While he concedes that national budgets are tight for flood defence works, he writes of his hopes that alternative funding can be found to ensure that some start is made on the scheme.

He writes: “Unfortunately, because of the tight control at the moment on public finances, we cannot proceed immediately with every flood defence scheme where we would like to.

“We are however actively seeking new ways to fund the Morpeth scheme, and I am very keen to explore the available options to make a start on helping to make Morpeth better protected against future floods.”