Work starts on £11million flood scheme in northeast England

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The intertidal habitat to the north of the nature reserve is a popular area for seals

The Environment Agency has joined forces with local businesses to reduce the risk of flooding to the community and give wildlife a boost in Teesside, northeast England. Work has started on the £11million project, which will increase flood protection from Greatham Creek while creating around 30 hectares of extra habitat.

The Environment Agency is working with local businesses in the area with SABIC UK providing funding towards the scheme and INOVYN ChlorVinyls providing some of their land for the additional habitat creation.

“I remember well the devastating impact the tidal surge in December 2013 had on the area, affecting around 50 homes and businesses,” said Phil Marshall, The Environment Agency’s Senior Advisor. “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.”

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.

Phase two will see the Environment Agency raise existing flood embankments along Greatham Creek, to reduce the flood risk to Port Clarence and land which is south of the Creek.

“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,” added Marshall. “This is a vital conservation area enjoyed by visitors from far and wide and we’re taking the opportunity to create 30 hectares of extra habitat to ensure wildlife continues to thrive.”

There will also be a managed realignment of part of the current flood defences. This means a new embankment will be built around a larger area of land, and then the existing flood embankment will be breached.
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This results in the creation of around 30 hectares of intertidal habitat to the north of the nature reserve. It’s a popular area frequented by seals, and a variety of bird species including shelduck, knot and redshank.