WEARDALE residents are being invited to talk to experts about a flood defence improvement scheme in Stanhope.

The Environment Agency is planning to raise some sections of the defences along the River Wear to improve protection to 100 homes currently at risk from flooding.

A public event to display the plan will be held on Monday, August 11, at the Durham Dales Centre in Stanhope from 3pm to 7pm.

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Chris Wotherspoon, project manager for the Environment Agency, said: “This work will improve flood defences in Stanhope.

“There are defences along this part of the River Wear but these offer different standards of protection, so we are looking to raise some defences and improve their general condition.”

The work will include the raising of an embankment at Butts Crescent, and increasing the height and strength of existing walls at Butts House and Wear Terrace.

No start date has yet been set for the work, but it is expected to be carried out this financial year.

Some 21 properties were flooded in Stanhope in January 1995, when river levels rose following heavy rainfall.

The Environment Agency constructed new flood defences to improve protection, and these significantly limited the damage caused by a rainfall event in January of 2005, when the Wear reached higher levels at Stanhope than it did 10 years previously.

This year’s project, designed using new modelling data, will improve these defences even further.

Mr Wotherspoon said they should be able to withstand river levels even higher than those seen in the 2005 incident.