'Redi' to Stop Floods and Create History; Interlocking Blocks Used for Defences

Article excerpt

Byline: Tony Henderson Environment Editor

A VILLAGE in Northumberland is making flood defence history. The pounds 400,000 scheme at Haydon Bridge to build a new flood defence wall is the first Environment Agency project in England to use one-tonne, interlocking blocks which are moulded from concrete but have a weathered finish so they look like natural stone.

The Redi-Rock blocks fit together like children's building bricks, helping to speed up the construction process and save money.

The new wall will replace an existing concrete flood wall, which was outflanked by rising water from the River South Tyne during the last serious floods in Haydon Bridge in 2005.

At 380m long, the new wall is almost double the length of the existing structure and should protect up to 23 properties.

Trees and vegetation have already been cleared in readiness and building work is set to be completed within approximately 12 weeks.

Environment Agency flood risk management team member David Huntington said: "The project is innovative in its application and there have been some interesting technical issues to overcome."

David Pratt, construction director of Durham-based Lumsden & Carroll Construction, which is carrying out the work, said: "Our team is enjoying meeting many of the residents. Some took up the opportunity of recycling the trees which we removed as we logged them up for them to use as firewood."

Meanwhile, residents in Morpeth are being urged to have their say on potential options for the town's proposed flood scheme. …