Page last updated at 07:50 GMT, Thursday, 8 October 2009 08:50 UK

Delays for long-term flood plans

The Environment Agency said it would take time to choose the bestoptions

Further work is needed on plans for a long-term solution to the risk of flooding in a Northumberland town, the Environment Agency has said.

More than 1,000 properties in Morpeth were affected when the River Wansbeck breached its banks in September 2008.

The agency has said work might not begin until 2011, as it wants to ensure proposals are cost effective before being submitted for government funding.

In the meantime, £1.3m flood defence works are being carried out.

The chosen solution needs to take into account the possibility of erratic weather patterns and heavy rainfall posing a threat to the town in the future.

Options considered are for either flood defences in Morpeth, or a combination of floodwater storage upstream and defences in the town.

A spokesman for the Environment Agency said: "We're working very hard to get the best solution for Morpeth, and we must make sure that we choose the best and most cost-effective option.

"There's only a limited amount of funding available nationally and all flood risk schemes bidding for this money have to go through a rigorous process to gain approval before any construction can start.

"We still anticipate this will be in 2011 and take around two years to complete, but it's important to get the details right at this stage to boost the scheme's merits as it goes through the funding process. "

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