River may flow anew

13.03.2014

A river will be diverted to flow along a newly constructed course if a proposed innovative £5.5 million flood protection scheme goes ahead.

The 400m long channel will be created for the Ouseburn to flow away from the Brunton Park area of Newcastle.

Its former course will also be used to capture and store surface storm water.

And two kilometres of new sewer pipes will be laid on the estate and an underground storage tank, complete with pumps, installed next to the village green to further help to protect homes.

It is hoped that the unique multi-agency project, led by Northumbrian Water and the Environment Agency in partnership with Newcastle City Council, will start in the autumn and is expected to take about a year to complete.

Residents will find out more detail of the planned scheme at a drop-in session at St Aidan’s Church, Polwarth Drive, Brunton Park, between 3pm and 7pm on Thursday 13 March.

Media are invited to find out more about how this major project will help combat flooding and interview representatives of the partners on the banks of the Ouseburn at 10.30am on Thursday 13 March.

Up to 100 homes have been identified as being at risk of flooding in the area from the Ouseburn and from the sewer and surface water drainage networks.

The new river channel will flow through the edge of the City of Newcastle Golf Course and a professional golf course designer has planned temporary adjustments and a permanent solution to create an improved course on completion of the work.

Homes will be further protected by a flood defence wall, less than three feet in height, and an embankment alongside parts of the new Ouseburn channel.

In addition to flood protection, the scheme will also create increased wetland habitat for nature, and archaeologists are also being engaged to safeguard any historical areas that might be uncovered.

Northumbrian Water Waste Water Director Richard Warneford said: "Northumbrian Water appreciates how devastating and distressing flooding is and we are determined to do all we can to help prevent it. This unusual and sustainable solution is a great example of what can be achieved when partners work together bringing their knowledge, innovation, funding and energy to create a scheme which will be a great help in protecting homes in the area."

Phil Welton, Flood and Coastal Risk Manager in the North East, for the Environment Agency said: "We are really pleased to be working with Northumbrian Water and Newcastle City Council on this important flood alleviation scheme. The new river channel and flood wall will provide vital protection to homes in Brunton Park, and the scheme will also benefit wildlife with an increased wetland habitat."

Northumbrian Water Project Manager Paul Davison said: "We appreciate that a scheme of this size and importance inevitably requires a considerable and lengthy amount of work in the roads in the area. There will also be increased site traffic and we will do everything we can to limit lorry journeys and times and where we can minimise any inconvenience on the roads."

• Final agreements on funding, planning and contracts for the scheme have still to be completed.

For further media information and to organise attendance on the banks of the Ouseburn at 10.30 am on Thursday 13 March contact Alistair Baker, PR & Media Manager, Northumbrian Water 0191-3016851 / 07711-793493

For further information from the Environment Agency contact Steve Kirman, Communications Officer, Environment Agency 0113 8196803.

For further information from Newcastle City Council contact Will Mapplebeck, Senior Communications Advisor, Newcastle City Council 0191 2115075.

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