£6.6million funding boost for North East flood schemes announced

The north east is set to benefit from a government cash boost that will protect homes and businesses from flooding, enhance the environment and bolster economic growth.

Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey has today (Tuesday, 27 March) announced that 25 new schemes around the country will receive a share £36 million announced in the Autumn Statement to improve flood protection.

In Northumberland, the main pier at Seahouses, protecting 140 properties and the town’s picturesque harbour, will be regenerated in a Northumberland County Council project thanks to an extra £2.9 million.

And in Hexham, £3.7 million has been allocated towards a £5 million flood alleviation scheme which will be delivered by the Environment Agency at Tyne Mills and Bridge End Industrial Estates. Work is ongoing to secure the remainder of the funding to progress this scheme.

Elsewhere in the country, one of the biggest beneficiaries is Hull, where £12 million will improve the defences along the River Hull to protect homes, businesses, infrastructure and areas of cultural importance within the city. The funding will support the second phase of the project which started in 2016 and has so far seen 39 sections of defence improved over a 7.5km stretch of river.

Rivers will be restored and habitat improved in Gloucester, where £1.2 million will go to projects to protect 370 properties along the Sud Brook and River Twyer.

In Derby, more than £300,000 will help create new wetlands and flood reservoirs to not only protect 110 homes from flooding but also to enhance biodiversity in residential areas.

Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey said: “This funding will benefit projects across the country from Hull to Gloucester, from Wolverhampton to the Wirral, that need an extra boost for flood defences to help our communities continue to prosper and grow in the future.

“Not only will this investment make places more resilient against flooding, but it will help the local economy, enhance the natural environment and protect important areas of culture - whether it is the homes, businesses and cultural sites in Hull to the pier in Seahouses or the natural environment in Gloucester.”

Government has worked with the Environment Agency to prioritise the areas that would get the most benefit – the schemes will not only protect an additional 3,000 properties from flooding but will contribute to wider benefits for the community.

Leila Huntington, Flood Risk Manager for the Environment Agency in the North East, said: “This funding is fantastic news for the North East which ensures Northumberland County Council’s vital work at Seahouses can go ahead imminently and we are one step closer to bringing our project to protect industry in Hexham to fruition.

“The council’s plan to refurbish the iconic Seahouses pier – an important coastal defence – will start in April, ensuring it will continue to protect the community into the future

“And we are delighted to have secured £3.7million towards a flood alleviation scheme delivered by the Environment Agency that will significantly reduce the risk of flooding to two important industrial estates at Bridge End and Tyne Mills in Hexham.
 
“This funding is a significant proportion towards the total cost of the scheme, estimated to be approximately £5million, and greatly increases confidence in delivering it by March 2021.
 
“Bridge End and Tyne Mills industrial estates currently support around 80 business, including two multinational companies, providing local employment and supporting the wider businesses community, while promoting economic and sustainable growth in the west of Northumberland.
 
“In addition the scheme will provide increased protection for the main council maintenance depot in the area, helping to ensure vital road networks and other council assets remain open and operating in adverse weather. We are now working with partners to identify and secure the remaining funding needed for the project to go ahead and will keep the community updated with progress.

“We understand how devastating it is to be flooded and this investment in two key areas of Northumberland ensures we are able to take great strides in providing flood alleviation schemes. We’ll continue to work with our partners and look for opportunities to reduce the risk of flooding and provide support for our at risk communities.”

Councillor Glen Sanderson, Cabinet Member for Environment and Local Services, with Northumberland County Council, added: "This is excellent news for two major schemes in the county. Both these projects will help to safeguard key economic and employment sites, give existing businesses greater security and confidence to grow and hopefully will encourage others to relocate here.

"We know only too well the devastating effects flooding can have - our Tyne Mills Depot in Hexham was badly damaged by water in 2015.

"The scheme to improve the flood protection at Tyne Mills, which is our key base for delivering key public services across the Tyne Valley and where many of our staff work from when responding to flooding incidents, is therefore very much welcomed."
 
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