Chance for people to learn about £11million Greatham Creek flood defence scheme

Phil Marshall (left) (environment agency) with Daren Smith (Sabic) at the site of the Greatham Creek project. Picture by FRANK REID
Phil Marshall (left) (environment agency) with Daren Smith (Sabic) at the site of the Greatham Creek project. Picture by FRANK REID

People are being invited to find out more about an £11million project to protect their area from flooding this week.

The Environment Agency is continuing work on the major scheme, which is designed to reduce the risk of flooding from the River Tees and Greatham Creek and to create about 30 hectares of new habitat.

Representatives from the Environment Agency and the contractors will be at a drop-in event on Wednesday.

It is being held at the nearby Saltholme Nature Reserve, in Seaton Carew Road.

People can drop in any time between 11am and 2pm. Entry to Saltholme is free for the event.

Phil Marshall, the Environment Agency’s senior advisor on the scheme, said: “I remember well the devastating impact the tidal surge in December 2013 had on the area, affecting around 50 homes and businesses.

“By working together with local industry we’re vastly improving existing defences to protect residents and businesses and reduce the risk of flooding now and into the future as sea levels start to rise.

“It’s a great example of how we’re working closely with partners, businesses and communities to create long-term, sustainable solutions to flooding while also making enhancements to the environment.”

Work started on the £11million scheme earlier this year. Construction work has been going on over the past few months, with 65,000 tonnes of clay brought on to site to start building up the new flood embankments.

The Environment Agency says Wednesday’s drop-in is an opportunity for the community to learn more detail about the project and how it is being delivered.

Existing flood embankments along Greatham Creek are being raised, and there will also be a managed realignment of part of the current flood defences.

A new embankment to the north of Saltholme will be built around a larger area of land, and then the existing flood embankment will be breached.

It will result in the creation of about 30 hectares of intertidal habitat to the north of the nature reserve, which is an area popular with seals, and a variety of bird species.

It is expected to be complete by the end of 2018.

The first phase of the project, which saw new flood defences built at Port Clarence to reduce flood risk from the River Tees at a cost of £4.5million, was finished in December 2015.

Together, the Environment Agency says the projects will reduce the risk of flooding, protecting 350 homes and 32 businesses ion the area.