OAP is forced to clear drains to stop flooding

One of the blocked-up drains before it was cleared.
One of the blocked-up drains before it was cleared.

A pensioner who was forced to unclog flood drains to stop water from pouring into his village has accused Northumberland County Council of neglecting crucial maintenance work.

The 72-year-old from Powburn, who doesn’t want to be named, braved the inclement weather a week past Saturday to remove vegetation which had accumulated on top of a series of drains – which he says are crucial to the area’s flood defences.

One of the drains after it was cleared.

One of the drains after it was cleared.

He told the Gazette that about nine drains – located between Powburn and Glanton – were in this state, causing flooding.

He said it wasn’t the first time he has had to do this and criticised the county council for failing to look after them.

“They are part of the flood system,” he said. “The drains themselves weren’t blocked, but the water could not get in for all the vegetation that had built up on top of them.

“The water was coming straight down into Powburn, so I went out to clear the top of the drains and it made a big difference. The lack of maintenance is a problem.”

A county council spokeswoman said: “Following recent flooding, we are currently concentrating on clearing leaf hot-spot areas. At this time of year with leaves falling, it is a near impossible task to keep the tens of thousands of gullies clear and due to heavy rain and high winds, we are working against a constant build-up of leaves in some areas.

“We assure residents that our team is working hard to cover all areas affected and we are doing the best we can.”