Work begins on £400,000 scheme to reduce river flood risk in Northumberland

Work has started on a £400,000 project to improve the condition of the River Glen, near Kirknewton, and increase flood resilience for nearby farmland, properties and infrastructure.

By Ian Smith
Tuesday, 24th August 2021, 1:03 pm

Contained within a narrow corridor, the River Glen is prone to sudden and damaging changes of course. Its floodbanks failed during major flooding in 2008, 2009 and 2015/16.

Without intervention, it is highly likely that future flood events will cause another sudden collapse of the flood embankments, resulting in major changes in direction of flow, with knock on implications to valuable farmland, fences and bridges. Salmon have also become stranded in the fields as they migrate upstream as a result.

The River Glen Restoration and Flood Risk Management Project is being led by environmental charity Tweed Forum in partnership with the Environment Agency, Natural England and Westnewton, College Valley, Lanton and Yeavering Estates.

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The River Glen flooding into the Yeavering Burn after a modest flood event. Picture: Tweed Forum

The project features work to reduce flood risk to Coupland and better protect productive arable farmland including the creation of a new embankment and road lowering with the replacement of the culvert on the Yeavering Burn at Coupland with a gravel ford and footbridge.

Elsewhere, embankments will be removed to allow floodwater to dissipate over a wider area of the floodplain and reduce the risk of sudden embankment failure and ditches will be filled to lower the likelihood of new channel formation.

Tweed Forum director, Luke Comins said: “Through this project we aim to put measures in place that will allow the river to evolve as naturally as possible, while improving the resilience of arable land, property and local infrastructure.

"The area had three major flood events between 2008 and 2016 and the changing climate means that further significant flood events are expected in the future.

"The Glen will always be a river where changes are likely to occur, but through this work, we are allowing this to happen more slowly and in greater harmony with the adjoining land, avoiding the sudden, often explosive, river flow changes associated with the existing failing flood embankments.”

Funding for the project has been obtained through a Water Environment Grant (WEG) provided by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.

Work is expected to be completed by the end of September.

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