Precautionary closures at Rothbury
20 Feb 2021 ARCHIVED (over 3 months old) - view latest news
Update on Sunday 21 February: River levels have improved overnight and the Cowhaugh car park at Rothbury riverside and public footpaths on low lying land between Rothbury and Thropton are now being reopened.
As a precautionary public safety measure, Northumberland County Council is today closing the Cowhaugh car park at Rothbury riverside and public footpaths on low lying land that are at risk of flooding in the Coquet valley between Rothbury and Thropton.
This is due to an ongoing issue where the River Coquet has overtopped its banks and merged with Caistron Lakes, upstream of Rothbury. Around half of the river is now flowing from the main River Coquet into the Lakes area. The impounded water is currently being held in place by the lake’s raised aggregate bank, which is at risk of failure. Should the bank fail, it will release water from the lakes area downstream, and while this will not create a sudden impact, it does have the potential to raise river levels more quickly than normal. It may flood agricultural and low lying land, and some recreational areas. The public rights of way across the flood plain and alongside the river banks downstream from Caistron Lakes are therefore being temporarily closed as a public safety measure whilst river levels remain high.
There is currently a Yellow warning for rain affecting North East England from 12 noon until midnight today, and the Environment Agency is monitoring the situation very closely. They will respond operationally as required depending upon how river levels are responding to the rainfall.
Public safety remains our priority and the Environment Agency is working with partners including Northumberland County Council, Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service and Northumbria Police to reduce the risk to the local area.
The Environment Agency is working with the owners of the lakes to agree how the impounded water can be released back into the river system in a managed way to provide a long term solution to the current issue. In the meantime, they have developed a robust incident response plan to minimise the impact on the community and environment, are monitoring river levels in the area and we will issue flood alerts if necessary.