Northumberland flood resilience project awarded £4.4m Government funding

A project to improve the flood resilience of at least six rural communities in Northumberland has been awarded £4.4m funding.

Wednesday, 31st March 2021, 8:53 am
Updated Wednesday, 31st March 2021, 8:56 am

The project plans to use smart technologies such as machine learning to test and develop a targeted flood forecasting and warning system for rural communities at risk of flooding.

It is among 25 projects across the country and five in the North East selected to receive a share of £150m from Defra to test and develop new ways to respond to flooding.

The pioneering projects, led by local authorities and delivered over the next six years, form part of the government’s new Flood and Coastal Resilience Innovation Programme and will be managed by the Environment Agency.

The River Coquet in Warkworth.

Leila Huntington, the Environment Agency’s flood risk manager for the North East, said: “With the effects of climate change, it’s important that we work with our partners to improve communities’ resilience into the future. These projects will help us to develop innovative and locally driven approaches to flood and coastal resilience and climate change adaptation.

“The five successful projects in the North East use new technology to increase resilience in rural communities. These projects will restore sub-tidal habitats to provide protection against flooding and coastal erosion, protect coastal communities and support regeneration by creating new habitats such as saltmarshes and mudflats, develop a new approach to sustainable drainage systems (such as raingardens, smart butts and street trees), and use the latest technology to measure groundwater levels and trial a groundwater flood warning service.

“It’s great to see the innovative thinking and strong collaborative working in the North East being recognised through this programme. We congratulate our partners on such successful bids and look forward to continuing to work in close partnership to develop and deliver these fantastic projects over the next six years.”

The project is led by Northumberland County Council in partnership with the Environment Agency, Northumbria University, The Water Hub, Isle Utilities and Ove Arup.

Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said: “We’re investing a record £5.2 billion in 2,000 new flood and coastal defences over the next six years – but with the effects of climate change already being felt it’s vital that we combine this with long-term approaches to improve communities’ resilience.”

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