Councillors representing a number of towns in Northumberland have backed a government decision to invest a further £1.4m into flood defence schemes in the region.
Part of a wider £170m initiative announced by the Government last month to accelerate flood schemes across the country, the funding will help to protect local towns including Hexham and Ponteland – both of which have suffered in recent years from flooding.
The funding will serve to boost Environment Agency schemes in the pipeline for the region. For example, a scheme for Hexham announced last year will receive a £1m funding boost towards its estimated £4.1m total cost.
The scheme in Hexham will reduce the risk of flooding to two industrial estates in the town which suffered significant flood damage in December 2015 due to Storm Desmond, as well as reducing the risk of flooding to nearby residential and non-residential properties in the area.
Vital infrastructure including sewage treatment works, a sewage pumping station, main electrical substations and a council depot will also be further safeguarded from flooding under the scheme.
Elsewhere, in Ponteland, a similar £3m scheme to reduce the risk of flooding has been allocated an additional £450,000 cash injection.
Quoted by local press, Cllr Trevor Cessford, who represents Hexham West on Northumberland County Council and is also a member of Hexham Town Council, said: “We welcome that flood protection in Hexham is seen as a key regional priority. Many local jobs depend upon the businesses based on our industrial estates.”
Hexham MP Guy Opperman added: “After a long campaign and representations to Defra, we have secured extra funds from the government for these vital flood defences, which will make a real difference in Ponteland and Hexham.”