New warning system for flood village

A flooded Rothbury.

A flooded Rothbury.

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A new flood warning system where residents can receive alerts by text will be showcased in Rothbury next week.

The Environment Agency, along with Northumberland County Council and the Northumberland Community Flooding Partnership, will host a drop-in event at the village’s Jubilee Hall to explain the Flood Warnings Direct service on Tuesday.

Rothbury residents can sign up to receive warnings by phone, text, email, fax or pager.

Environment Agency flood advisor Kirsty Harwood said that people living in low-lying areas would receive flood warnings first, giving them extra time to take action.

She added: “People living on slightly higher ground will only receive a warning if the river continues to rise, which will help reduce the number of false alarms.

“We’d like to meet people living in Rothbury to explain how the warning service has improved, inform residents about how they can join the service and what they can do to prepare themselves for flooding.”

The River Coquet has burst its banks several times at Rothbury in recent years, including a devastating flood in 2008 when around 50 properties were affected.

There are currently 82 properties classed as being at risk of flooding from the River Coquet.

Others are at risk from the nearby Coplish Burn, but there is currently no warning system in place for them because water levels for the small river are difficult to predict.

Ms Harwood said: “We’re working on a way to give advance flood warning from Coplish Burn, and we hope to launch this as soon as possible.

“In the meantime we really want to speak to residents living nearby about what they can do to protect themselves from flooding.”

The system is the latest in a string of improvements designed to tackle flooding in Rothbury.

Works so far include the installation of a removable flood barrier to protect Armstrong Cottages, and the replacement of a culvert to help drainage at the Coplish Burn.

The session runs from 2pm to 7pm. For more about flood protection, call 0845 988 1188 or visit www.environment-agency.gov.uk/flood