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Morpeth Herald

Victims demand answers over flood scheme delay

Published Date: 29 October 2009
FLOOD victims have drawn up a list of 18 questions to put to Environment Agency Chairman Lord Smith.
Wansbeck MP Denis Murphy has called an urgent meeting with the official after a delay in announcing a preferred flood alleviation scheme for Morpeth.

The Environment Agency said it needs more time to finalise the details, given the tough economic climate and competition for investment.
However, it is worrying for around 1,000 home and business owners, who still have no guarantees of better protection.

The Morpeth Flood Action Group (MFAG) has asked Mr Murphy to put a series of questions to Lord Smith, based around funding, time-scales, negotiations and the project options.

Chairman Alan Bell said: "We are worried about the funding.

"It has already been projected into budgets, but we have got a general election between now and when the decision will be made on whether we actually get it. Our concern is that it could be cut back.

"If that is the case we will be in the process of a cost benefit analysis where Morpeth has to get over a certain criteria for the scheme to go ahead.

"We don't expect any commitments, but we would like something. We need reassurance because we are not getting any information. The Environment Agency has this delay and people want to know why.

"Every time it rains we have got people panicking. There is a long time to wait for the alleviation scheme and we want to make sure that wait is kept to a minimum and the scheme will actually go ahead."
A meeting is expected to take place next week.