Morpeth gets set for new flood defences at Cotting Burn

New flood defences are being planned at Morpeth to reduce risk of flooding from the Cotting Burn

Morpeth has flooded three times within six years at Cotting Burn
Morpeth has flooded three times within six years at Cotting Burn

New flood defences are being planned at a Northumberland town.

The Environment Agency is working on proposals to reduce the risk from the Cotting Burn at Morpeth, which has caused some properties in the town to flood three times in just over five years.

The move was last night welcomed by the Morpeth Flood Action Group (MFAG), although it voiced concerns that the work could be negated by additional water run off from hundreds of new homes planned for the town.

Morpeth suffered devastating floods in September 2008, with 1,000 homes and businesses hit. The town suffered again in September 2012, although only around 40 properties suffered.

Work is already under way on a £21m flood alleviation scheme for the town, due for completion late next year, but the measures will only reduce risk from the River Wansbeck.

The agency’s scheme for the burn would see a retention dam built upstream of Pottery Bank Court.

The facility would hold back flood water during heavy rain, reducing the burn’s current risk of a one-in-30-year flood to one-in-100-years.

The work is being planned following pressure from MFAG.

An agency spokeswoman said: “At the moment we are discussing proposals for the Cotting Burn and the final details of a scheme.”

Last night, Alan Bell, chairman of MFAG, said some residents in Morpeth have been flooded three times in five “and a bit” years by the burn, with some suffering in 2010 as well as 2008 and 2012.

He said: “It has in fact caused flooding in Morpeth more often over the last 100 years than the River Wansbeck.

“The problem needs to be addressed and initial schemes did not seem satisfy. We have been pressing for upstream storage.

“The environment agency thankfully have taken this on board.”

However, the group is concerned that even with such measures in place, flooding could be exacerbated by additional treated sewage being discharged into the burn, as well as rainwater run-off, as a result of planned development to the north of Morpeth.

It fears planned schemes at Northgate and Peacock Gap could see around 44,000 gallons of additional sewage pumped into the burn.

Mr Bell added: “With regards to the proposed development in Morpeth, there is great pressure for development on the North side of Morpeth that we feel is possibly inappropriate if they could not hold back surface water drainage and sewage. The last thing we want is more water going into the burn. If there is upstream storage this could be negated by the developments.”

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