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Morpeth Herald

Anxious wait as river levels rise

The Wansbeck is almost onto the road at the bottom of New Market, Morpeth.
The Wansbeck is almost onto the road at the bottom of New Market, Morpeth.
 
Published Date: 01 April 2010
 
THERE was another anxious river watch in Morpeth and Ponteland this week as flood warnings were issued.
Heavy rain on Tuesday led to rising river levels in both communities, while the Cotting Burn in Morpeth flooded seven properties in Newgate Street, Butchers Lonnen and Marse Yard.

Homes in East Mill were also threatened by the rising water.

There was a double peak in levels on the Wansbeck, at around 10.30pm on Tuesday and 6am on Wednesday, following further rain.

Environment Agency Area Base Controller Phil Marshall said: "We had some quite heavy rain in 24 hours and that resulted in us having to issue a flood warning for part of Morpeth.

"We deployed staff to check on the situation, but none of the properties were flooded from the River Wansbeck.

"We were aware that water at East Mill was getting high so we had staff there checking that.

"There was some flooding from the Cotting Burn. Because of the rain a culvert that we have been repairing couldn't cope with the amount of flow, which caused flooding to about seven properties.

"In Ponteland, we issued a warning because the river was quite high and we had staff checking what was happening on the ground."

He added: "It just reinforces the need for the Morpeth flood alleviation scheme and that is still going ahead as planned.

"It is also important work to get the culverts brought up to a certain condition."

Northumberland County Council was also monitoring the situation and some sandbags were deployed.

Morpeth Flood Action Group Chairman Alan Bell said: "People are just sick of this. I have had various emails from people saying 'when is this going to end?'

"People just wish the Environment Agency could get on with the flood scheme and just do bits of it now, but it can't do anything until the funding for the whole scheme is approved.

"People just want it now. Since 2008 we have had two flood watches and now a flood warning and because of the previous flood people are worried and panic."

However, he said the volunteer flood wardens for the area were able to get valuable experience from the scare.

"The flood wardens came out to get first-hand experience of what was happening and could find out what they will need from the Environment Agency to do the job," he said.

"It is information that we need most of all at these times to get out to people and tell them what is happening.

"Hopefully the flood wardens will be able to do that in future as a contact between the services and the community."
l TWO vehicles became stuck in a ford on Tuesday afternoon.

Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service received a call at 4.20pm about a car that had become trapped three-and-a-half miles from Longhorsley.

Crews from Morpeth and Rothbury were sent out, along with a swift water rescue team, and made the vehicle safe. No one was inside.

The Rothbury crew then spotted an empty mini-bus that was trapped nearby in the same ford. It was pulled out with the help of a local farmer's tractor.