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Innovative flooding scheme nears finish

The natural flood scheme in Netherton.
The natural flood scheme in Netherton.

Work is nearing completion on an innovative flood alleviation scheme in rural north Northumberland.

The project, at Netherton, uses larch barriers to spill water onto the floodplain and generally slow the flow as it comes off the steep hills upstream of the village.

The aim is to reduce the low to a level that the low bridge in the village can cope with and so reduce the risk of flooding.

Natural flood management is starting to gain acceptance across the UK as a viable and cost-effective method to reduce flooding from smaller streams such as the Netherton Burn. This follows ground-breaking work at Belford where much of the country’s works in this field were pioneered by the Environment Agency and Newcastle University.

At up to 60 metres long, the scheme at Netherton is believed to include the longest barriers from larch boards currently in place in the UK.

The Netherton scheme is funded by Northumberland County Council and was designed and project managed by Riverworks, a small family business specialising in the design and build of all types of works beside rivers.

Construction of the scheme has been by Northumberland-based Davy Livingstone Ltd using timber from Wingates sawmill.

Pete Kerr, from Riverworks Ltd, said: “We are delighted to have this project substantially complete ahead of Christmas and so hopefully reduce the worry about flooding in the village over the festive period.

“Davy Livingstone has done a great job in some difficult weather conditions and it’s been great to work with local farmers, suppliers and contractors to deliver a quality and cost-effective scheme.”

David Green, from the county council, added: “The council would like to thank the local farmers that have embraced the concept of natural flood management; without their support, the scheme would not have been possible. I also believe it is vitally important to work alongside local businesses that appreciate their surroundings, so I would like to thank both Riverworks Ltd and Davy Livingston Ltd for their efforts in delivering the scheme.

“I appreciate that living in a flood-risk area is a constant worry, but we hope that the completion of this scheme will go some way to easing worries.”