Alnmouth coastal scheme to benefit from natural flood management funding

Alnmouth has been included in a £25m scheme aiming to reduce the risk of flooding.
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It is one of 40 projects to benefit from the government’s Natural Flood Management programme.

Natural processes such as planting trees and creating wetlands will be used to increase the nation’s flood resilience by slowing and storing water.

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The Alnmouth Coastal Scheme will maintain and enhance existing saltmarsh and dune systems in the Aln estuary.

Looking from Church Hill across to Alnmouth. Picture by Jane ColtmanLooking from Church Hill across to Alnmouth. Picture by Jane Coltman
Looking from Church Hill across to Alnmouth. Picture by Jane Coltman

Simple timber and brushwood barriers will collect sediment and break wave action, to maintain saltmarsh and encourage expansion.

The project will also trial innovative brash barriers using discarded conifer byproducts, for the same purpose.

Volunteers will plant marram grass, sand couch grass and sea lyme grass on local dunes: tapping sand to maintain and enhance existing dune systems. These natural barriers will reduce the risk of tidal flooding at Alnmouth.

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The project will maintain and enhance internationally rare and important habitats, which also serve as important carbon sinks.

The River Aln near Alnmouth.The River Aln near Alnmouth.
The River Aln near Alnmouth.

Wider benefits include the creation of new intertidal and freshwater habitat.

Floods Minister Robbie Moore, a former county councillor for Alnwick, said: “It’s vital we use nature as an ally in our work to become ready for climate change, helping to restore the natural environment and protecting homes and businesses. That’s why we’re funding the biggest-ever investment in natural flood management – and it’s great to see the huge demand.

“These schemes will complement traditional bricks-and-mortar defences, all funded by our £5.2 billion flood programme. This programme is one more part of our plan to bolster flood resilience and shield communities – all whilst boosting biodiversity, restoring habitats and protecting the environment for future generations.”

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The Alnmouth application was submitted to the Environment Agency by Northumberland County Council and selected after a review, with input from Defra and Natural England.

Environment Agency chair Alan Lovell said: “We look forward to working with partners to help natural techniques become a mainstream option for flood protection and help create more climate resilient places.”

The Environment Agency is managing the new programme with work taking place from now until March 2027.

The programme will help meet the goals of the National Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Strategy for England.