Time nearly up to support flood campaign

TIME is running out to join our calls for Morpeth’s flood alleviation works to be re-instated in budgets.

A total of 1,647 people have now added their signatures to our petition seeking funding for the £17million scheme to begin this year.

But in order to show the community’s strength of feeling on the subject to the Environment Agency Board before it rubber-stamps this year’s funding allocations, forms must be returned to us early next week.

In the aftermath of the 2008 flood, which wrecked almost 1,000 homes and businesses, officials and politicians said an alleviation scheme should be put in place as a matter of urgency and work was due to start this year.

However, last month it was announced that the project was unlikely to be included in the 2011/2012 budget due to Government funding cuts and not scoring highly enough to be a priority.

Residents, businesses, children, community groups and town and county councillors have all backed our campaign for the project to start as originally scheduled and many have written to Government Ministers and the Environment Agency warning of the catastrophic impact any delays would have if there was to be a repeat of the disaster.

Wansbeck MP Ian Lavery has agreed to take all the letters and the petition to London to present to Environment Agency Chairman Lord Smith.

He said: “I think the schoolchildren and everybody in the town are doing a great job making sure this issue remains in the spotlight.The petition and people writing letters shows just what support there is in Morpeth for the flood alleviation scheme.

“We have got to continue to put pressure on because the coalition Government has said the money isn’t there.

“It is good that people are pulling together and doing that.”