Duchess sees vital flood defence dam
The Duchess of Northumberland, in her role as Lord-Lieutenant of Northumberland, was given a guided tour of a vital flood alleviation structure for Morpeth on Monday.
The visit to the Mitford Dam, an Environment Agency asset, was organised by the Morpeth Flood Action Group (MFAG).
The facility is part of the £27million programme funded by the Environment Agency and Northumberland County Council, and initiated by the Northumbria Regional Flood and Coastal Committee.
The scheme, which also includes walls in the town centre and is the largest of its kind in the North East, reduces the risk of flooding to more than 1,000 homes and businesses.
Her Grace, The Duchess of Northumberland, said: “We are fortunate to have a flood defence like the Mitford Dam that provides residents and people who run their own businesses with the opportunity to sleep a little easier in their beds at night, knowing they have a safeguard in place to help protect them against the effects of flooding.
“The community appreciates all of the hard work that everyone delivers in the town by providing services that allow us to safely go about our day, and I was happy to accept the chance to have a guided tour of the dam by the very people who made it all possible.”
The dam and storage area store up to 1.4million cubic metres of water – this is enough to fill 560 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
They combine when river levels are too high and would ordinarily cause flooding in the town.
Environment Agency’s Alan Cadas, operations manager in the North East, said: “This is a ground-breaking project that has changed the lives of so many people who live and work in Morpeth.
“The dam gives them some additional reassurance that if bad weather does hit the town, then the areas which are at higher risk of flooding are now better protected.
“We couldn’t have done any of the scheme without the support of our partners and the continued dedication shown by local community groups like MFAG.”
MFAG chairman Alan Bell said: “We welcomed the opportunity, facilitated by the Environment Agency, to show The Duchess of Northumberland the alleviation scheme that means so much to the people of Morpeth.
“After the tour, some of our members and other residents met with her to tell her of our experiences from 2008 and our hopes for the future.
“The role of Morpeth Flood Action Group has evolved over the eleven years of our existence.
“In that time, we have worked in close collaboration with the agency, which has offered help and support both to the group and the people of Morpeth.
“We are ideally positioned to offer information, support and, when appropriate, reassurance to residents who may be at risk or fear of flooding.”