Delight at completion of flood scheme in Ponteland

More than 250 homes and businesses in Ponteland are better protected from flooding now that Environment Agency work on a new £2.7million flood scheme has been completed.

Tuesday, 21st September 2021, 4:13 pm
From left, Leila Huntington, Environment Agency, Guy Opperman MP, Andy Judson BAM Client Account Director, Lynsey Gray, Arup Project Manager, BAM Site Agent Kevin Bulman and Kirsty Harwood, Environment Agency Project Manager. Picture courtesy of North News and Pictures.

Construction for the project started in August 2020. It included replacing the existing flood defences on the south bank of the River Pont with one continuous sheet piled flood wall.

The wall has been built to complement the existing local environment, with a stone effect and complementary colouring, and was created with climate change at the forefront of the design. There are allowances in the foundations for the walls to be raised in future if needed.

As well as better protecting homes and businesses from flooding, Ponteland will also benefit from environmental improvements such as a re-profiling of the river bank to create a natural sloped terrace – which has been planted with native river corridor plants, boosting local biodiversity.

Kirsty Harwood, Environment Agency Project Manager, highlights an aspect of the Ponteland flood scheme to, from left, Ponteland North county councillor Richard Dodd, Leila Huntington, Environment Agency, and Guy Opperman MP. Picture courtesy of North News and Pictures.

Kirsty Harwood, Environment Agency project manager for the Ponteland flood scheme, said: “We understand just how devastating it is to be flooded and we consulted with the community throughout to develop a scheme that meets their needs.

“We know there is a long history of flooding in Ponteland and although we can never eradicate the risk entirely, now this project is complete we hope it provides reassurance for local residents that they are better protected now and into the future.

“As well as the new flood defences, which we have built in keeping with the existing local environment, we have made some environmental enhancements to the area, including a new more natural river bank.”

More than 250 trees have been planted to not only replace those lost during construction, but to enhance specific areas in the locality such as many in a meadow at Ponteland Community Primary School and some adjacent to the river.

Hexham MP Guy Opperman has already visited the site recently to see first-hand the completed project.

He said: “This additional investment from the Government for flood protection here in Ponteland is fantastic and I know it is hugely welcomed by the many residents and businesses affected by the devastating consequences of flooding.

“I recently saw first-hand the vital work that has gone into protecting our communities in Ponteland. It is brilliant the work has now been completed – the extra investment has turned into action so quickly, ensuring that confidence is given to those concerned about flooding locally.”

Coun Nick Oliver, who represents Northumberland on the Regional Flood and Coastal Committee said: “It's wonderful to see another important flood defence scheme delivered in Northumberland.

“These works will bring extra flood protection and peace of mind to local residents and businesses – a great effort by everybody involved in the project.”

The contractor, BAM Nuttall, maintained a temporary flood defence throughout construction to uphold flood protection.

Almost all of the people employed by BAM to work on the project were local.