THE Government has invested a further £1.4m into flood defence projects in the district.

The cash injection will boost Environment Agency schemes which are in the pipeline for both Hexham and Ponteland, to protect homes and businesses from the devastation of flooding.

The funding is part of a £170m cash injection announced by the Government to accelerate flood schemes across the country, to protect communities from the flood risk posed by climate change.

It means the agency’s scheme for Hexham, announced last year, will receive a £1m boost towards its estimated total cost of £4.1m

The project will aim to reduce the risk of flooding from the River Tyne to the town’s Bridge End and Tyne Mills industrial estates. Both sites suffered significant flood damage as Storm Desmond wreaked havoc in December, 2015.

It will also reduce the risk of flooding to up to 90 residential and non-residential properties, and safeguard infrastructure including sewage treatment works, a sewage pumping station, main electrical sub-stations, and a council depot.

Ponteland is at risk of flooding from the River Pont and Fairney Burn, and has previously suffered localised surface water flooding.

The Ponteland scheme has been allocated an additional £450,000 towards the £3m total cost, with work expected to start later this summer, to replace and enhance a flood wall and embankment on the banks of the River Pont close to the town centre. Once complete it will better protect 279 homes in the town.

Environment Agency flood risk manager Leila Huntington said: “We’re delighted we’ve been allocated this funding which ensures we can continue our vital work to better protect homes and business in Ponteland, Hexham and Team Valley from flooding.

“Over the course of a six-year programme of work - ending in 2021 - we’ve invested £132m to protect more than 7,000 North-East homes.”

The Environment Agency is also stepping up other protective measures, which include expanded flood warnings by 2022 to all at risk properties, increased investment in natural flood management schemes to protect communities, tackle climate change and create new wildlife habitats, and to work more closely with road, rail and utilities providers.