Flood support for Tyne Valley communities

26 May 2016

Partners are continuing to work together to support Northumberland communities affected by the winter storms.

Since December the Environment Agency, Northumberland County Council and Northumbrian Water have been working together to tackle flooding in the Tyne Valley.

This includes repairs to flood defences, sewer network maintenance, repairs to the highways infrastructure and improving community resilience.

The Environment Agency is repairing flood defences right across the North East which were damaged in the winter storms in a £3 million recovery programme.

In the Tyne Valley, repairs include work in Haydon Bridge to stabilise the flood wall at Brigwood, strengthening the flood wall and stopping leakage through it at Temple Houses and minor raising of the ground behind Rocksprings Terrace.

Repairs will also be carried out at a scour in the river bank near the old A69 road bridge to protect the flood wall.

Work already done includes repairs in Corbridge, where 20 tonnes of clay was used to restore the flood bank at Station Road, and a repair to a damaged flood bank at Warden, as well as some channel clearance works in Wark.

The recovery projects will restore defences which were damaged during storms in the winter. Work to identify what more can be done to reduce the risk of flooding in affected communities and to increase resilience to flooding is also underway.

Environment Agency Operations Manager for the North East, Alan Cadas, said: “The flooding this past winter had a terrible impact on people’s lives, homes and businesses.

“Much of the focus in the North East is on the Tyne Valley, which was most affected by the winter storms, and we’re working closely with those communities to ensure they are updated about recovery works taking place in their area, any potential to reduce the risk of flooding, and to support them to improve resilience.

“The programme of recovery work, to get our defences back into the condition they were in prior to flooding, is a challenge, but we’re working tirelessly to restore protection to communities.

“We’re working closely with our partners at Northumbrian Water and Northumberland County Council to keep residents updated with progress.”

Northumbrian Water has also carried out extensive investigation work to understand the causes of flooding in the Tyne Valley. The water company has done camera surveys of large sections of sewer network in the Haydon Bridge, Corbridge and Haltwistle areas. As a result of this, cleansing of pipes is being carried out where required.

Camera surveys also identified tree roots in the sewer which serves Burnside Close in Ovingham. These roots have now been removed and work to address and remove silt and sediment from this sewer is also being carried out.

Northumbrian Water is developing a model to understand if its largest reservoir, Kielder Water in Northumberland, has to potential to provide any flood alleviation. It is hoped that this model will be developed by the end of June.

Steve Robson, Northumbrian Water’s Technical Sewerage Team Leader for the Tyne Valley area, said: “We know that flooding is one of the worst things that our customers can experience and we are working very hard to reduce this impact. We are investing £180 million between 2015 and 2020 to tackle flooding across the North East region.

“Partnership working is vital to understand the cause of flooding as it comes from so many different sources. Our close partnership approach with the Environment Agency and Northumberland County Council will ensure the best flood reduction solutions for our customers as we are able to share information, knowledge and expertise.”

Since the flooding Northumberland County Council has paid out almost £1.4m in grants and council tax relief to affected householders and businesses.

Councillor Ian Swithenbank, Cabinet Member for Local Services with Northumberland County Council, said: “The winter storms had a huge impact on many communities in the county, with the Tyne Valley suffering the most severe damage.

“Since the first flooding incident we have been working tirelessly with partner organisations to support local communities and businesses in getting back on their feet – from helping with financial support to cleaning up affected areas and rebuilding roads and bridges.

“We have secured £14.6m from the Department for Transport that is helping us to undertake a priority programme of repairs to the worst affected parts of our highway network, and we are making good progress.

“A further £1.1m is currently being spent to tackle the potholes created by the freezing conditions that occurred after the flooding.

“In addition to repairing our highways network, we are also still providing grant support schemes to help households and businesses affected by the flooding.”

Tynedale MP Guy Opperman added: “Recovery after an event, the size and gravity of the floods this winter, was never going to be easy. It was tough at first, but now the direction of travel is clear.

“I have had meetings with the Environment Agency, Northumberland County Council, and Northumbrian Water who have set out the plan ahead for recovery, some of which is already underway. Local engagement and solutions have been, and will continue to be vital as we move forward.”

On December 4 and 5, 223 properties flooded in the Tyne Valley, with a further 29 flooding from surface water. During Storm Eva on Boxing Day, 6 flooded, while 27 properties flooded during Storm Frank in January.

 

Householders and business owners affected can still apply for up to £5,000 towards measures to help reduce the risk of flooding to their properties in future.

Those interested in this funding should contact Northumberland County Council for application details via www.northumberland.gov.uk

Grants of up to £10,000 are also still available to those businesses affected by the floods who need financial support to help in their ongoing survival and recovery, for example to cover the costs of things like marketing, interest payments on new and existing loans, specialist advice, training and equipment.

For more information about this grant, contact Arch on 01670 528490 or by emailing julie.dodds@arch-group.co.uk

Check to see if free flood warnings are available in your community and sign up by calling Floodline on 0345 988 1188 or by visiting the website.

As well as checking flood risk, residents can also find out what action you can take to protect your personal safety and property by visiting the Environment Agency website at https://www.gov.uk/floodsdestroy

The website also includes advice on how to prepare for flooding, becoming a flood warden, and developing a flood plan.

For media enquiries contact the press office on 03708 506 506. Out of hours call 0800 917 9251.
www.gov.uk/environment-agency - @EnvAgencyYNE

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