Published: Thursday, 27th August 2015
A tourist destination in Northumberland, affected by flooding in 2008, is benefitting from an innovative £26m scheme which has just been completed.
The Morpeth flood scheme, which opened on Monday (24 August), will protect residents by storing millions of gallons of flood water upstream – one of the largest projects of its kind built by the Environment Agency.
The Morpeth flood scheme will benefit more than 1,000 homes and businesses in the town and is the largest flood protection project completed in the North East. The upstream reservoir on the town’s Mitford Estate works by storing up to 1.4 million cubic metres of water when river levels are high – enough to fill more than 560 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
In September 2008, severe and prolonged rainfall caused 1,000 properties in the town to be flooded and forced hundreds of people to evacuate.
The scheme has also created 17 hectares of new habitat for local wildlife. Some 3,500 endangered white-clawed crayfish have been relocated upstream of the River Wansbeck – one of the last places in the UK where the native species has a stronghold.
The project has been jointly delivered with Northumberland County Council, which provided £12m in funding – one of the largest partnership contributions the Environment Agency has so far secured.