Town centre on flood alert at weekend

A fire engine was required to pump water away from an access road in Morpeth as water levels rose at the weekend.

Tuesday, 13th August 2019, 18:46 pm
Updated Wednesday, 14th August 2019, 13:18 pm
Firefighters pump water away from an access road at Bennett’s Walk in Morpeth. Picture by Richard Godwin.

The action took place at Bennett's Walk on Saturday evening following persistent heavy rain, and a flood alert for the area was issued by the Environment Agency, although it was no longer in force on Sunday morning.

Low level walkways, allotments and grassed areas in the town and surrounding villages were flooded, but the organisation did not receive any reports of flooding to properties. Flood gates were closed as a precaution.

Morpeth Flood Action Group chairman Alan Bell said that the river levels markedly increased between 7pm and 8pm, and peaked at about 9pm, but thankfully they fell so no major action was required.

He added: “We were told that Northumberland County Council had a dedicated pump that could have been used in this situation, but apparently they couldn’t get it down in time.

“However, the fire and rescue service did a very good job in pumping away the water at Bennett’s Walk.

“Naturally, residents would have been anxious as the heavy rain continued and our members helped officers to reassure people, but this wasn’t helped by misinformation on Facebook that the dam at Mitford was full.

“This and other matters to address will be discussed at our next meeting.”

An Environment Agency spokesman said: “We had officers on the ground and they were out clearing screens, closing gates, and checking levels.

“We worked closely with the county council throughout this time and no properties were flooded.

“The debris at the dam is being removed today (Wednesday) as levels have now dropped sufficiently to allow our operations teams access.

“Similar levels of debris at the tree catchers at High Ford Bridge will also be removed today (Wednesday).”

A county council spokesman said: “Council staff were out with the Environment Agency at the weekend at High Stanners working to reassure residents and ensure the flood control measures were working properly.”