A river has been diverted to help tackle flooding in an area of North Tyneside.
The turning of the flow of Longbenton Letch marks the completion of the second phase of a £6million scheme to reduce flood risk in Killingworth and Longbenton.
Northumbrian Water, North Tyneside Council and the Environment Agency have been working on the joint surface water management scheme since July 2016.
The first phase involved constructing a new surface water pipe that would allow the partners to divert Longbenton Letch out of the sewer network and directly into the nearby Forest Hall Letch.
The second phase, which began in April last year, saw the construction of three natural surface water storage areas on Killingworth Moor to make sure that the additional flows into Forest Hall Letch would be held back during times of heavy rainfall.
The watercourse could not be diverted until the second phase of work was completed, but now that it has been, the risk of flooding in the area has already been reduced.
Once phase three of the scheme is complete, more than 3,500 properties will benefit from reduced flood risk. It is expected to begin in the summer and take six months to complete, and will be carried out by Northumbrian Water’s partners, ESH-MWH.
It will involve re-contouring around the south bank of Killingworth Lake and some new planting.
The agencies are planning an event in May where customers will be able to find out about the proposals and have their say. There will be more details about it closer to the time.
Lynn Preston, Northumbrian Water’s project manager for the scheme, said: “This project is a fantastic example of how much can be achieved by working together to reduce the risk of flooding in an innovative and sustainable way.”
John Harrison, cabinet member for housing and transport at North Tyneside Council, said: “This is great news for local residents and gives them real confidence that their homes will be protected during heavy rainfall.”
Nicola Hyslop, project manager with the Environment Agency, said: “Turning the flow of the river is a significant milestone in what is an innovative project.”
Residents can keep up to date on the progress of the works by following the link to the Killingworth and Longbenton page at www.nwlcommunityportal.co.uk