New tool to help against flooding

The Environment Agency's remote controlled boat being used at Killingworth Lake.
The Environment Agency's remote controlled boat being used at Killingworth Lake.

A new tool is being used to look at options for a potential flood alleviation scheme in North Tyneside.

Officials from the Environment Agency have been using a remote controlled boat to deploy surveying equipment at Killingworth Lake to determine the depth.

The Agency, Northumbrian Water and North Tyneside Council are working on a project for a sustainable surface water management scheme to reduce flood risk.

In July, residents learned more about the proposed £8m scheme at a drop-in session.

Richard Robinson, the Environment Agency’s flood and coastal risk management advisor, said: “The proposed scheme has been designed to manage surface water in the natural environment rather than using storage tanks.

“Knowing the depth of the lake will help us consider the best way to utilise it while safeguarding the existing environment and lake users’ interests.”

“The boat is an innovative piece of equipment which provides us with an efficient and effective way of gathering the information we need to progress the scheme together with our partner agencies.”

Northumbrian Water’s project manager Lynn Preston added: “Using the boat is a great example of how partners can work together in a creative way to gather and share information to reduce flood risk.

“Work to be done at Killingworth Lake will play a key part in reducing flood risk in the local area, and information from the boat survey is key to helping us manage surface water in the natural environment.”

The ARC – Acoustic Radio Controlled – boat is just under two metres in length. It’s a vessel which houses hydro acoustic equipment – a Sontek M9 with HydroSurveyor software – which collects data such as flow rates and depths.

Coun John Harrison, North Tyneside Council’s Cabinet member with responsibility for emergency planning, said: “We’re committed to working with our partners to find new and innovative solutions to the issue of flooding, and this is just one example of how we’re doing this.

“This area of the borough has been prone to some severe and disruptive flooding in recent years and it’s very important that we do all we can to reduce any future risk and protect homes and businesses.”