Page last updated at 13:07 GMT, Wednesday, 7 April 2010 14:07 UK

Rain breaks through flood repairs in Morpeth

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

The Environment Agency has defended its actions after seven houses were flooded in Morpeth despite emergency repair works on flood defences.

Water caused by heavy rain poured out of the top of a culvert which had been left open by Environment Agency engineers carrying out work.

The agency say the repairs were helping to protect hundreds of houses that were potentially at risk.

Some residents affected had been victims of widespread flooding in 2008.

About 1,000 homes and businesses were affected after the River Wansbeck burst its banks in September 2008

'Under mud'

Lesley Mantel, at Lansdown House Bed and Breakfast, was one of those affected in 2008 - and again, in the most recent incident last week.

She said "We woke up and we were two inches under mud, and wheelie bins had floated up the yard."

She said the water came up the building wall four feet, and the garage and garden had flooded.

Mrs Mantel said she had been fully booked for the Easter weekend, but the bookings had had to be cancelled.

Phil Welton, senior flood risk engineer for the Environment Agency, said they had been working on the culvert since November, because it was in danger of collapse.

He said: "The flow of heavy rain water exceeded the culvert capacity and came out at the first point it found - which happened to be where we had taken the top of it off."

Mr Welton said, even if the top had not been removed, the water would still have flowed back towards the entrance, potentially flooding a number of other houses.

Repair works to the culvert are due to finish in June.



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SEE ALSO
Post-flood morale boost honoured
10 Oct 09 |  Tyne
Delays for long-term flood plans
08 Oct 09 |  Tyne
Morpeth a 'scene of devastation'
07 Sep 08 |  England

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