Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Upstream Dam Should Keep Town's Homes Safe

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Upstream Dam Should Keep Town's Homes Safe

Article excerpt

Byline: Tony Henderson Environment Editor

WORK has been completed on a dam which will increase flood protection for homes and businesses in a Northumberland town.

The upstream dam on the Mitford Estate at Morpeth is now operational as part of the Environment Agency and Northumberland County Council's PS27m flood alleviation scheme.

It works by storing up to 1.4 million cubic metres of water when river levels on the River Wansbeck are high and could cause flooding.

The storage of water upstream is a vital element which further reduces the risk of flooding to properties in the town, protecting Morpeth from a one in 137 year flood - or a flood with a 0.7% chance of happening in any given year.

Alan Cadas, operations manager at the Environment Agency, said: "While most of the town centre works were completed at the end of last year, protecting homes and businesses in Morpeth against smaller flood events, the dam is a vital element which significantly reduces the risk of flooding in the town.

"It works by holding back water when river levels are high, which is then released slowly when the threat of flooding has passed.

"Designing and building the dam has been a long and complex process, and we are pleased that the two main elements of the scheme are now complete." Chairman of the Northumbria Regional Flood and Coastal Committee, Jon Hargreaves, said: "I'm delighted the upstream storage area is complete, which brings much improved protection for the people of Morpeth and their properties."

Ian Swithenbank, cabinet member for local services with Northumberland County Council said: "The council has always recognised the importance of this scheme which will bring real bene-fits to residents and businesses in Morpeth.

"This pioneering partnership project between the Environment Agency and the Council is one of the first in the country to jointly deliver a major flood alleviation scheme and it's great that the main elements to protect properties from flooding from the river are now complete.

"We are also taking forward a project with Northumbrian Water to look at remaining surface water flood risks in Morpeth and examine how we might further alleviate any problems. …

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