FLOODING risks faced by about 3,500 North East households will be reduced thanks to a £30m allocation of Government funding to improve defences, it was claimed yesterday.
The package of grant aid – from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs – covers the next two years, and will be used alongside local partnership funding to pay for beefed-up flood protection and work to tackle threats posed by coastal erosion.
Defra’s announcement includes confirmation of £10.2m funding for the £21m project to improve Morpeth’s aging flood defences, and help prevent a repeat of the September 2008 flood in which 1,000 homes and businesses were flooded.
The Government money has been matched by a £10.9m capital contribution from Northumberland County Council, whose intervention in 2011 saved the scheme from being axed.
The project involves the creation of a new, upstream flood storage area, which will limit the flow of water through Morpeth to a level that can be handled by a series of new and existing flood defences in the town itself.
The Environment Agency’s scheme is expected to start soon and is scheduled for completion late next year.
Defra’s announcement of Flood Defence Grant in Aid allocates £14.3m to schemes in the North East in 2013/14, and £15.7m during 2014/15.
Yesterday, the Environment Agency said projects allocated funding this year will, when completed, reduce the flood risk for about 3,500 households.
The projects included in yesterday’s announcement include a £1m flood alleviation scheme on the Ouseburn at Brunton Park, Newcastle, which gets an indicative allocation of £250,000 for 2014/15, and £25,000 for the completion of the £3.7m Neasham Village protection scheme near Darlington.
Others include a £660,000 scheme to improve sea defences at Blyth, a £574,000 flood alleviation scheme at Staindrop near Bishop Auckland, a £400,000 project to reduce flooding risk from the River Coquet at Warkworth, a £330,000 scheme at Stanhope in north west Durham and £90,000 worth of work to improve defences at Clara Vale in Blaydon.
In addition, Defra funding will go towards a £55,000 dune management scheme at Druridge Bay, and an £800,000 restoration project at the River Till site of special scientific interest near Berwick.
Defra said yesterday’s funding allocation means the Yorkshire and North East region will get more than £135m in Government money for flood protection and coastal erosion work over the next two years.
It will help pay for 40 schemes in the North East, as well as other work such as mapping, investigative studies, and flood forecasting.
Tony Andryszewski, flood risk manager at the Environment Agency, said: “Now that this money has been secured, it will be used alongside contributions from partner organisations and the private sector to improve protection to thousands of properties, both residential and industrial.”