Councillor welcomes £1.2million flood defence scheme which will stop the devastation caused by adverse weather

A Sunderland councillor says he has “witnessed first-hand the absolute misery” residents suffer from flooding and is delighted defences costing thousands of pounds have been approved.

Saturday, 1st June 2019, 10:01 am
Sandbags out to help keep flooding of property to a minimum, in Market Place, Houghton,

Copt Hill councillor Kevin Johnston campaigned for the flood defences at Houghton’s Gravel Walks culvert – which is among three sites that will receive £1.2m in funding.

Sunderland City Council’s ruling cabinet approved three flood alleviation schemes last month.

The Labour councillor has been fighting for measures to prevent flooding in the Houghton area for the last three years, and was featured in the media making a plea to the council back in 2016, when residents in his ward were hit by extreme weather.

Coun Johnston said: “Though relatively infrequent, flooding is absolutely devastating for the people it affects, and it’s avoidable if we put measures in place to prevent it.

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“I have campaigned for these changes, and lobbied hard for them, because I have spoken to residents and witnessed first-hand the absolute misery they feel when something like that happens to their home, business or premises. It costs many thousands of pounds to address too.

“I’m delighted that, with this budget approved, defences will move forward over the coming weeks and prevent any more people in my ward suffering the impact of adverse weather.”

The culvert carries flow from Houghton Burn to the junction of Gravel Walks, before falling back into the burn.

Between 2002-2017, five flooding incidents have been reported at Market Place.

Recent surveys have found corrosion on steel covers and recommended a concrete cover be installed to reduce the risk of collapse.

As well as Houghton, additional flood defences have been approved in Washington and Roker.

Council portfolio holder for environment and transport, Labour’s Amy Wilson, said: “With more extreme weather, caused by global climate change, incidents of flooding are only expected to become more frequent and more severe, so we must invest now in defences to minimise the impact to our communities, many of whom have been exposed to the risk of flooding for some years and who have been left devastated when it has hit their home or premises.”