On Friday 11 September 2020, Hexham MP Guy Opperman visited the site where vital work is starting to improve flood defences in a Northumberland town.
The £2.7 million Ponteland Flood Alleviation Scheme is the first project in the UK to get off the ground of 22 flood defence projects to benefit from a £170 million government funding boost.
This investment brings forward work on flood defence schemes throughout the country, which will drive economic growth as well as better protecting thousands of homes, businesses and jobs from the devastating effects of flooding.
Ponteland received a £450,000 cash injection to fill a shortfall in funding, allowing the Environment Agency to start construction immediately.
Mr Opperman was joined by the Ponteland Flood Warden on the tour. Mr Opperman said: “This additional investment from the Government for flood protection here in Ponteland is fantastic and I know will be hugely welcomed by the many residents and businesses who will benefit from this crucial work. It is great to see this extra investment transfer to shovels in the ground so quickly, bringing real peace of mind and confidence to the local community.”
In Ponteland, existing flood defences on the south bank of the River Pont, between the Memorial Hall footbridge and Callerton Burn Pumping Station, will be replaced with one continuous sheet piled flood wall.
This flood wall will be built to complement the existing local environment, with a stone effect and colour, and will protect more than 250 properties in the town. The new flood defences will also be built with climate change in mind, with allowances in the foundations for the walls to be raised in future if needed.
Work started at the end of August and is expected to be completed next Spring.
The contractor, BAM Nuttall, will maintain a temporary flood defence throughout construction. Almost all of the people employed by BAM to work on the project are local.
There are also some environmental enhancements, with a re-profiling of the riverbank from the current steep gradient to a more natural stepped terrace which will be planted with native river corridor plants.
Leila Huntington, Flood Risk Manager for the Environment Agency in the North East, said: “The recent government funding boost that the scheme received shows just how vital the completion of this work is and we’re pleased to get started on the ground. We know there is a long history of flooding in Ponteland and we’re committed to ensuring the town is protected. We understand just how devastating it is to be flooded and we have consulted with the community throughout to develop a scheme which meets their needs. This project is built with climate change in mind and will hopefully bring some reassurance to residents that they will be better protected now and into the future.”
If you would like to read more like this, then please click here