06 August 2009
"That is a long time."
The Council agreed to raise the matter with
the Environment Agency to find out if there
is any chance of an earlier completion date.
Members will also ask about the possibility
of clearing the river bed following calls
from Coun Thompson.
However, Coun Best warned that dredging may
cause more damage.
"Dredging the river is a short-term solution
because the flow of the river will replace
the mud and gravel and in that process it
causes erosion upstream and instability of
"The Environment Agency doesn't see it as a
permanent solution and it would be an
expensive ongoing thing," he said.
Morpeth Flood Alleviation Scheme Project
Manager Phil Welton confirmed that dredging
would be unsuitable as it could cause
ecological problems, may have little effect
and is not a long-term solution.
And he said there is nothing the Agency can
do to speed up work on the Morpeth defences.
"We need to go through the right processes
and do a full appraisal and modify and
develop the right scheme for Morpeth," he
"We need a certain amount of time to do that
work and then we have to present the case to
the Government to get the funding to do the
"We really have made it as efficient as we
can and we did knock four months off the
programme, but it is quite an efficient,
tight project and it is unlikely we can move
it on from that.