Morpeth gets £26m flood defence scheme

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image copyrightPA
image captionThe scheme has been described as one of the largest of its kind by the Environment Agency

A Northumberland market town that has been repeatedly hit by flooding is due to benefit from a new multi-million pound flood defence scheme.

The £26m project in Morpeth is due to open later and is designed to protect residents by storing millions of gallons of flood water upstream.

It will store up to 1.4 million cubic metres of water when river levels rise.

The Environment Agency has described the project as one of the largest of its kind ever constructed.

The scheme has also created 42 acres (17 hectares) of new habitat for local wildlife and 3,500 endangered white-clawed crayfish have been relocated upstream of the River Wansbeck.

'Record investment'

In 2008, more than 1,000 homes in the town were flooded.

Sir Philip Dilley, Environment Agency chairman, said: "With one in six people at risk of flooding in England, flood schemes like Morpeth have a key role to play in protecting people and property, and provide a valuable boost to the local economy.

"Creating large-scale habitat is also vital to ensuring the survival of the country's endangered species such as white-clawed crayfish.

"The success of this scheme is down to the way it has been developed in collaboration with others. In particular, the funding from Northumberland County Council is among the largest contributions received under the partnership funding regime."

He said £2.3bn will be invested over the next six years across England, to reduce flood risk to 300,000 properties.

Construction work began on the defences in 2013 and was jointly delivered with the county council.

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