Page last updated at 09:42 GMT, Thursday, 21 January 2010

Environment Agency unveils Morpeth flood defence plans

Flooding in Morpeth (pic: Iain Ogilvie)
Flooding in 2008 in Morpeth damaged businesses as well as homes

Plans for improved flood defences in Morpeth, Northumberland, are going on display to the public.

The Environment Agency is proposing the creation of an upstream reservoir to restrict water volumes flowing through the town in the event of flooding.

More flood walls would also be built to prevent the Wansbeck bursting its banks, as happened in 2008 when about 1,000 properties were damaged.

The plans go on display at the town hall on Thursday afternoon and evening.

'Manageable volume'

Many parts of Morpeth are already protected from a flood which has a one in 50 chance of happening in the town in any given year, the agency said.

The new walls would be built in areas such as High Stanners and Mitford Road, which are currently undefended.

In the event of flooding, the upstream reservoir - which would hold over one million cubic metres - would only allow through a volume of water manageable by the town centre defences.

The new flood walls would also be "less obtrusive", at up to 1.6m (5ft) tall.

The agency said the new defences would provide protection from a flood that has a one in 115 chance of happening in any given year - the conditions which occurred in September 2008.

The proposals will be on show between 1400 GMT and 2000 GMT, when staff will also be available to answer questions.

There will later be separate sessions for residents in areas such as High Stanners and Mitford Road who may want discuss specific parts of the plan in more detail.

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