WORK started yesterday on building a gauging station to help the Environment Agency keep a check on the flow and level of the River Tees.

A footpath was closed to the public to enable builders' vehicles to reach the site on the north bank of the river at Barnard Castle.

The station will replace an older one on the other side of the river which is difficult for agency staff to reach when the water level is high.

An agency spokesman said: "This one will have easier access so that we can pay visits to make checks no matter what the conditions are."

An automatic system will warn agency engineers if the river level passes a certain mark.

It is expected that the station will be completed by Christmas.