The Environment Agency will be maintaining flood defences at Boldon Colliery in South Tyneside to reduce the risk of flooding from the River Don.
Improvement work is set to start on a flood bank at Reay Crescent which was built in the 1970s and protects up to 10 properties.
Work needs to be done to re-profile the flood bank and remove 11 trees that are growing on it. Tree roots can weaken flood banks and the work needs doing to ensure the defence does not fail in a flood.
The existing flood bank will be levelled and widened in places so that future maintenance can be carried out safely.
The Environment Agency will also improve drainage in one corner of the flood bank, where it often gets wet and difficult to maintain. The new drain will discharge into the river.
The area is a habitat for water voles, and an Environment Agency biodiversity specialist will be on site permanently during the works to ensure no harm comes to them.
Simon Eadington, Project Manager for the Environment Agency, said: “We are doing this maintenance work to protect residents from flooding.
“The trees currently growing on the flood bank could be making it unstable, increasing the flood risk to local properties.
“It’s important that we do this work whilst taking care not to harm protected water voles that live there.”
Work on the flood bank is due to start on the 13 February and last approximately four weeks.
Living Waterways is also working in the area to re-landscape part of the River Don and create back waters for the local water voles and other wildlife.
The River Don backwaters project is being developed in partnership with South Tyneside Council. The local community have been involved in the design of the scheme, and work is expected to start on 20 February.
Living Waterways has already run several successful education sessions with the West Boldon Primary School and Boldon School and several volunteer stream clean-ups.
Michael Rodgers, Project Manager for Living Waterways, said: “The response of the local community to the project has been fantastic, especially the willingness of residents to help clean up parts of the burn that had become blocked with rubbish.
“The local schools involvement in the project has also been particularly inspiring; showing just how much interest there is in the wildlife that inhabits the River Don and how it can be enjoyed by all.”
The next volunteer clean-up day is on Saturday 18 February. If you would like to get involved please contact Michael Rogers on 0191 584 3112 or email [email protected].
Living Waterways is a jointly funded project by the Northumbrian Regional Flood and Coastal Committee’s Local Levy and Wildlife Trusts. It aims to improve the local environment for people and wildlife, protect and improve habitats for wildlife and ‘make space for water’ now and in the future.