A £4.8million Middlesbrough flood scheme that better protects around 500 homes and businesses is complete.

The Marton West Beck flood scheme reduces the risk of flooding from the beck, sea and surface water in central Middlesbrough.

During heavy rainfall the project's upstream storage areas on Newham Beck will hold water back, decreasing the amount and slowing the flow of water downstream.

The project also includes an extended trash screen on Marton West Beck at Albert Park that will collect debris and rubbish that can cause flooding.

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New stone-clad floodwalls and a surface water storage area at the park, new concrete floodwalls at Borough Road and a new drainage system.

Construction started on the project, which was led by the Environment Agency in partnership with Middlesbrough Council, in summer 2020 and was completed last month.

Jamie Fletcher, Environment Agency Flood Risk Manager in the North East, said: "This project protects around 500 homes and businesses in the centre of Middlesbrough and will bring benefits for wildlife in the wider area.

"Schemes such as this are essential for helping the North East adapt to climate change, which is bringing with it more extreme weather conditions and an increased flood risk."

Councillor Barrie Cooper, Middlesbrough Council's Executive member for Environment, Finance & Governance, added: "I'm delighted to see this hugely important scheme completed, and I'm grateful to the Environment Agency for the fantastic work they've undertaken. For those affected by flooding, the impact can be catastrophic and life-changing, and such extreme weather events are becoming all too frequent.

"These state-of-the-art defences are a great example of partnership working, and will give peace of mind to more than 500 families and many businesses for many years to come."

Amenity improvements include the creation of an allotment area at Environment City, the installation of a green roof on an existing composting area in Albert Park to create a bee pollinating area, along with the creation of bug houses, bat boxes and bird boxes around the park. Herbs have been planted and materials and equipment donated to help local refugees with their community garden.

The Environment Agency provided 300 trees and 3,000 hedge plants to Middlesbrough Municipal Golf Course after their land was used to create one of the upstream storage areas.

Middlesbrough and the wider economy will save an estimated £58million long term due to reduced flood-related damage.

The Marton West Beck scheme is just one of many across the North East that better protects properties and businesses as part of a £132million six-year investment programme to create or improve flood and coastal defences in the region.

Last year's record government investment announcement of £5.2 billion to better protect 336,000 properties across England by 2027 includes a further £193million investment in North East defences.

Jamie added: "We continue to invest in building and improving flood defences across the North East but unfortunately we cannot prevent all of the damage caused by flooding- climate change is only increasing that risk.

"It's important the public go online and check if they are at risk, sign up for Environment Agency flood warnings, and know what to do if flooding hits."

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