Start of upgrade to flood defences

From left, Phil Rothwell, chairman of the Northumbria Regional Flood and Coastal Committee, Martin Lawlor, Port of Blyth chief executive, and Tristan Drought of the Environment Agency.

Work has started on a major flood defence scheme that will protect homes and businesses in Blyth from tidal flooding.

The project in the Cowpen area will see an existing 180m flood wall upgraded and extended to create a 380m wall to reduce the risk of flooding to the town.

When taking climate change into account, these new defences – from Crawford Street to Quay Road – will protect more than 1,000 properties into the future, while also offering immediate improved protection from tidal flooding to 58 properties.

The project is being funded by the Environment Agency, but is being built by Port of Blyth as part of its wider re-development of the adjacent Bates and Wimbourne Terminals.

It is due to be completed in the spring.

Leila Huntington, the Environment Agency’s flood risk manager for the North East, said: “This is a great example of a partnership project which protects homes and businesses now and into the future.

“We have been working closely with Port of Blyth to support the development of a flood wall as part of a wider land development scheme.

“By working together, it means a greater standard of flood protection improvements can be provided at a reduced cost and with less disruption to the local community.”

Port of Blyth will own and maintain the wall. The Environment Agency will carry out annual inspections.

Martin Lawlor, Port of Blyth chief executive, said: “This project is a real win-win for the town of Blyth and the Port.

“A huge number of homes and businesses within Blyth will be protected by the flood risks presented by global warming and the scheme enables the Port to move forward with our development plans for connecting our Bates and Wimbourne Quay terminals, which will attract inward investment into the town.”

A flood warning service is available for residents considered to be at risk of flooding, one for the North Sea at Blyth and another for the North Sea at Blyth town centre.

To check if you are at risk and to sign up for free flood warnings, call 0345 9881188.

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