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Tynedale Council

Regional| Sub-Regional | Local Detail | Flooding Glossary

Tynedale Council

Description

Tynedale is the largest district in the region, more than twice the size of the next biggest, covering an area of approximately 2,200km2. It extends from the high upland hills and steep fast flowing streams of the Cheviot Hills in the north to the low peaks at the northern end of the Pennines in the south. 

The areas rises to a maximum peak of 650m in Gilderdale Forest in the Pennines, and up to 600m in the Cheviots. 

Areas form the west fall steeply into the Tyne valley, which runs through the centre of the district, as the area begins to flatten out towards Newcastle and the coast. 

Areas in the north are predominantly covered by the forested hillsides of Wark Forest and Kielder Forest, the largest man-made woodland in Europe. 

Towards the south areas are mostly open fells and moorlands of the low Pennines.

 TyneHexhamKielder 

 

The main towns in the district are those along the Tyne valley, the likes of Haltwhistle, Haydon Bridge, Hexham and Corbridge.  Other significant towns and villages are spread around the district, although mainly lying along the tributaries of the Tyne, with smaller remote villages in the surrounding moors and hillsides. Upland areas are generally fairly rugged, uncultivated hillsides with more agricultural land use around the lower lying, central areas of the district.

The main river within the district is the River Tyne, and its main tributaries, the Rivers North and South Tyne, the River Allen, and the River Rede in the north. 

The River North Tyne begins from Kielder Water, the largest artificial lake in the United Kingdom and one time the largest in Europe. 

The River Rede starts from Catcleugh Reservoir in Redesdale Forest, further to the north, and has its confluence with the River North Tyne downstream of Bellingham. 

The River South Tyne has its source in the Pennines and collects various burns of the steep hillsides before passing through Alston and dropping into the start of the Tyne valley at Haltwhistle. 

The source of the River Allen is also in the Pennines, and flows through Allenheads and Allendale before joining with the River South Tyne upstream of Haydon Bridge. 

The confluence of the Rivers North and South Tyne is just upstream of Hexham, from where the enlarged river continues out of the district and onwards towards Newcastle and its discharge into the sea.

 Hexfishpass

 

Within the district there are also various other streams and burns which cascade off the steep surrounding hillsides and form tributaries to these main rivers.

The current Environment Agency Flood Zones indicate the areas within the district that are potentially at risk of flooding from the main rivers. 

Significant flooding is shown along much of the River Tyne and it's main tributaries. Most significant is the flooding along the Tyne valley affecting areas around Hexham, and downstream past Corbridge and towards Prudhoe and Wylam, although flooding below Riding Mill is shown for the more extreme event. 

Upstream of Hexham there is significant flooding shown along the South Tyne, affecting areas from Haltwhistle through to Haydon Bridge. 

Also on the River North Tyne there is significant flooding shown along much of its length, particularly affecting areas between Lanehead and Bellingham. 

In addition, there is flooding shown on the River Rede around Otterburn. Much of the flooding around these areas will only affect rural areas, although towns and properties situated at a low level near the rivers are likely to be affected. 

There have been previous reports of flooding within the district as follows:

  • Hexham, Corbridge, 10 January 1955 - Flooding from main river due to overtopping of the defences leading to extensive flooding along River Tyne.
  • Hexham, 29 July 1965 - Flooding from main river due to channel capacity exceeded.
  • Wark, 17 October 1967 - Flooding from main river.
  • Cockshaw Burn, 1 October 1993 - Flooding from ordinary water course.
  • River South Tyne, River Tyne, 31 January 1995 - Extensive flooding along the river [Flooding also affected areas around the River Wear].
  • Tarset Bridge, Bellingham, 1 February 2002 - Flood from main river.
  • Kielder, 1 November 2002 - Flooding due to blockage of an ordinary watercourse.
  • Wark, 11 August 2004 - Flooding from the Dean Burn.
  • Otterburn Mill, West Woodburn, Redesmouth Mill, Date not known - Flooding from main river.
  • Hexham, Tynedale, 8 January 2005 - Extensive flooding from River South Tyne, and River Tyne. The Tyne recorded its highest water levels ever. Flooding at Hexham disrupted water supplies as a water main burst and 10,000 households in the town were without water for several days. There was also flooding to numerous properties: including 30 in Corbridge, 25 in Haydon Bridge, and 25 in Warden.


[Flooding also affected areas around the River Wear, and there was major flooding in Carlisle affecting 2,000 properties].

  • Haltwhistle Burn, 20 July 2007 - Flooding from main river due to exceeded channel capacity.
  • Tynedale, 19/20 July 2007 - Heavy torrential rain and flash floods across Tynedale.
  • 10 properties in Bardon Mill, Hexham, Henshaw, Haydon Bridge flooded.
  • 18 properties flooded in Town Foot area as Haltwhistle Burn burst its banks.
  • Falstone Burn banks were badly damaged, more than 4 houses in Falstone flooded by several inches of water and road into village flooded. Tree trunks and debris washed through village.
  • Alston - Properties flooded from Mill Race in Valley View, Garrgill Road area.  7 Eden Housing Association properties damaged by flooding at the Firs.
  • Halton Lea Gate - flood waters raced through village.
  • Eals area, Slaggyford - Flash flood as Mill Burn burst its banks and caused trees and debris to block under the bridge.
  • Rail services between Haltwhistle and Carlisle disrupted after the heavy rain caused minor landslips, and flooding of tracks at Riding Mill.
  • 24 June 2007 - Kielder Water, Europe's biggest man-made lake which holds 200 billion litres of water, reported to be 97% full.

Also, regarding flooding from sewers:

  • Greenhead, 13 January 2000 - Flooding due to drainage issues.
  • Hetton-le-Hole, 1 August 2002 - Flooding due to drainage issues.
  • Haltwhistle, 9 August 2004 - A69 in Northumberland was flooded for 1½ hours.
  • Haltwhistle, Greenhead, 17 June 2007 - Elderly residents evacuated from bungalows and flats as they flooded up to 8 inches when the drainage system could not cope with heavy rainfall.  Greenhead drains unable to cope flooding village, up to 1 foot outside village hall. Hexham Races were abandoned.
  • Riding Mill, 20 July 2007 - Surface water field runoff flooded a Nursing Home and elderly residents were evacuated.
  • There are several river flood defences provided within the district., notably along the River Tyne around Hexham and Corbridge, and intermittent sections on the River North Tyne from Falstone down to Bellingham, with further sections downstream near Wark and Park End.  There are some short sections of defences on the River South Tyne around Haydon Bridge and Haltwhistle, and defences along the River Rede around Rochester, Horsley and Otterburn.

In total there are 43 km of flood embankments, almost 3 km of flood walls and 1.5 km of other defences provided across the district, along with 17 no. other raised defence structures. A new £8m flood management scheme in Hexham on the Coplish Burn is also soon to be completed, in March 2008, which will provide a 200-year standard of protection.

Foul and separate surface water drainage systems are spread extensively across the district and will be typically small contained systems serving each of the local communities.  In the larger towns systems will be larger and more interconnected.

Typically foul systems will comprise a network of drainage sewers, often combining areas of separate and combined drainage, leading to a sewage treatment works. In these rural areas the foul/combined systems will be inter-linked, possibly via pumping, between outlying towns and villages to a single local treatment works. There are 70 sewage treatment works and 38 sewage pumping stations within the district.  Various ancillary structures will be included through the system to assist network performance, primarily pumping stations, combined sewer overflows (CSOs), and storage tanks. CSOs provide an overflow release from the drainage system into local watercourses or surface water systems during times of high flows. In the rural areas, many of the properties are likely to be unconnected to the foul drainage system, and will have their own septic tanks.

Surface water systems will typically collect surface water drainage from within a village or group of properties and discharge directly into local watercourses.

Impacts
The following table presents a summary of the key properties and assets currently identified to be at risk of flooding from rivers under the present day climate. 

These are shown under particular vulnerability sections based on the safety risks posed if there were flooding to this type of property.

Notably, within the more extreme flood risk zone there are the following critical assets and properties at risk:

  • 1 Ambulance Station, 1 Police Station and 2 Fire Stations.
  • 4 Schools and 1 Nursery.
  • 3 Care Homes.
  • 10 Electricity Sub-stations and a Telephone Exchange.
  • 9 Leisure Centres and 4 Community Centres.
  • 1 Landfill Site and 6 Chemical Works.
  • 22 Sewage Treatment Works and 18 Pumping Stations.
 

Asset Type

Tynedale

Flood Zone 3
0.5-1% AEP

Flood Zone 2 *1
0.1% AEP

Total No.
of ASSETS

HIGH Vulnerability

18

32

239

Ambulance Station

-

1

4

Police Station

-

1

7

Fire Station

2

2

8

School

1

4

69

Hospital

-

-

3

Care Home

1

3

24

Camping Site

2

2

8

Caravan Site

4

8

39

Power/Gas Station
and Gas Works

-

-

2

Electricity Sub Station

7

10

62

Telephone Exchange

1

1

13

MEDIUM Vulnerability

40

62

477

Railway Stations

7

7

9

Bus Station

-

-

1

Leisure Facility

5

9

41

Surgery/Health Centre

-

-

39

Community Centre

3

4

21

Day Nursery

-

1

10

Hotel/Guest House/Hostel

5

7

81

Self Catering Holiday Unit

9

13

121

Pubs and clubs

6

10

122

Petrol Filling Station

-

4

16

Major Landfill
(including Hazardous)

-

-

1

Landfill (Non Hazardous)

-

1

7

Chemical Industry/Works
IPCC sites

5

6

8

LOW Vulnerability

32

46

138

Sewage Treatment Works

13

22

70

Sewage Pumping Stations

15

18

38

Water Treatment Works

-

-

12

Cemetery/Crematorium

-

-

8

Metal Industry/
Recycling Sites

2

2

3

Tipping Site

1

1

1

Non Hazardous Waste
Transfer/Treatment

1

3

6

TOTAL

90

140

854

*1 Flood zone 2 figures also include properties within the higher risk Flood zone 3.

 

Our discussions with various organisations within the district highlighted the risk to caravan parks and camping sites. Several caravan parks are identified to be at risk of flooding from rivers or coastal erosion. These are highly vulnerable sites due to the significant personal safety risks to people resident at the sites during times of flooding, and cars and caravans are particularly hazardous as they can be easily picked up and carried along by flood flows causing significant damage to other properties and risk to life.

Also the residential impacts to the local population have been determined. Residential properties are classed as medium vulnerability.

The Environment Agency has a social flood vulnerability index which identifies the vulnerability of populations based on age and social deprivation.

Most of the areas affected are in the medium vulnerability class or higher, although more vulnerable populations are affected by flooding around Otterburn, Barrasford, Haltwhistle, Hexham and Corbridge.

  • Population at risk - Tynedale
  • Flood zone 2 - 48
  • Flood zone 3 - 34
     

Regarding our transport networks, the following sections of the road and rail system are likely to be affected by flooding.

  • 24 km of the Rail network.
  • 5.3 km of the A68.
  • 10 km of the A69.
  • 3.6 km of the A696.
  • 39 sections of other A-Roads affecting more than 6 km.
  • 72 sections of B-Roads affecting approximately 7 km.

As identified above the Tyne Valley railway line is particularly vulnerable to flooding and embankment slips due to heavy rainfall. 

There are several fords across watercourses within the rural areas and these can become significantly dangerous to cross when river levels are high following heavy rainfall. This poses a serious hazard on smaller watercourses in the upland areas that might not be accounted for here.

Flooding incident records for the sewer and drainage systems indicate that there are 7 properties within the Tynedale district identified to be at risk of flooding from the sewer system on their ‘2 in 10-year' and ‘1 in 10-year' registers.

These figures represent properties that will be affected by typical storms up to 5% AEP, and there are likely to be a significantly greater number of properties and areas affected by sewer and surface water flooding during higher intensity, more extreme storms, as we have seen with the flooding in summer 2007. The data on existing flood problems gives a good indication of the extent of recurrent problems related to the sewer system, however, in addition to the recorded/known incidents there will also be numerous other locations which are also likely to flood situated in outlying areas where properties are not affected and therefore limited information is not available.

Additional to those locations on the Northumbrian Water flood register, key highway and localised surface water flooding will readily occur, but in such rural areas anecdotal reports are not as readily available. 

To the 2050s, climate change is projected to cause a general reduction in the annual average rainfall across the district. Rainfall will become more seasonal however, and there is projected to be a general increase in winter rainfall.

In addition there is likely to be an increase in the intensity and magnitude of individual rainfall events, with greater increases shown with the more frequently occurring events. Despite a general reduction in summer rainfall, this effect is likely to produce more severe, high intensity storm events during the summer periods.

With the projected increases in extreme rainfall events, this is likely to lead to increased flooding within the district.  Based on estimates of climate change increases to flooding from rivers, the following additional properties have been identified to potentially be at risk in the future. 

The key critical assets and properties are shown in bold.

 

School

3

Riding Mill; Hexham; Corbridge

Electricity Sub Station

3

-

Camping Site

1

Hexham

Caravan Site

1

Brampton

Health Centre or Surgery

2

Hexham

Care home

5

-

Community Centre

1

Hexham

Leisure Facility

1

Hexham

Pub or Club

14

Corbridge (3), Hexham (8), Wylam (3)

Hotel and Premises

2

Corbridge, Hexham

Self Catering Holiday Unit

6

Hexham (3), Corbridge (2), Stocksfield

Guest House, Motel, Hostel

1

Haltwhistle

Petrol Filling Station

2

Corbridge, Hexham

Sewage Pumping Station

2

Bardon Mill

Sewage Treatment Works

5

-

RESIDENTIAL

780

Hexham, Haltwhistle, Riding Mill, Corbridge, Stocksfield, Prudhoe, Wylam, Brampton

Rail

8,577m (62 No.)

-

Road-Primary

2,334m (24 No.)

-

Road-A

3,161m (34 No.)

-

Road-B

2,904m (33 No.)

-

 

Of greater concern than the additional number of properties affected by future flood level increases, will be the increasing frequency of large rainfall events and the impact that this will have on the properties currently identified to be at risk. These assets will face an increasing risk of flooding as the present day extreme rainfall and flood events become more frequent.

Locations in the upland areas of the district will be at a greater flood risk due to faster flood flows and the limited response time available from flood warnings.  This is likely to increase with the increasing seasonality of rainfall bringing higher intensity, flash flood flows, particularly during the summer months.

The increasing seasonality of rainfall and autumn and winter wetness, will lead to greater saturation of the ground, particularly in upland areas.  Greater saturation will cause a higher volume and rate of runoff flows, which will exacerbate the problems discussed above. This is likely to further increase the frequency and extent of problems and their impacts.

Additional impacts of climate change on flooding and flood defences are also likely to become apparent, as follows.

  • Flooding to critical infrastructure and housing stock (as highlighted).
  • Direct and indirect impacts on vulnerable populations.
  • Traffic impacts on main routes (regarding access and distribution of food and fuel, etc) affecting local and national businesses.
  • Impacts on the co-ordination of emergency services during times of flooding if access routes become blocked by flood waters, particularly affecting isolated rural areas where there may be only single routes of access.
  • Increasing call outs for emergency services to flooding events.
  • Health and safety issues with flooding from sewers, CSOs and treatment works contaminating flood waters.
  • The greatest effect on local tourism due to flood impacts on transport networks.
  • Increased blockages in the system and more silt being washed into watercourses reducing capacity, requiring more frequent inspections and greater maintenance works.
  • Culvert entrances becoming blocked by tree debris and vegetation during high storms.
  • Extensions in the growing season, starting earlier and lasting longer, increasing requirements for vegetation clearance of watercourses to retain channel capacity.
  • More frequent breaching of historic defences that have a low standard of protection will reduce the defence's efficiency and stability and require increased maintenance works.  The likelihood of failure of the defences will be increased.
  • Higher flood flows giving increased scour and erosion at defence toe, leading to undermining and slumping or collapse.  (Northumberland County Council has increased budgets over recent years to deal with land slips due to the erosion of embankments by local watercourses).
  • Drier conditions likely to cause cracking in defence embankments. 
  • Increasing vermin populations are likely to impact on the stability of defences.  Rabbits and other rodents burrow into defence embankments weakening them and increasing the likelihood of collapse.

With regard to sewer and surface water flooding, with increasing winter rainfall due to climate changes the occurrence of incidents at the known foul and surface water sewer flooding locations will become significantly more frequent during the winter months. 

Other problem locations will arise due to the increasing magnitude of events, but it is difficult to easily ascertain where these may occur.  Fast flowing surface water runoff in the steep valleys in the upland areas are likely to be most susceptible.  These upland areas already experience higher levels of rainfall, and more severe storms, throughout the year. 

Also, low gradient areas within the main towns and low points on the road and rail networks will be vulnerable to increasing flooding, particularly where these are surrounded by steeper areas that will produce fast runoff flows from the projected more frequent and higher intensity storms.

Northumbrian Water has noticed an increase in the frequency of high intensity summer storms that produce significant urban flooding over recent years, with significant flooding events having occurred in two of the last three years.

Similarly to river flooding, the impacts of climate change will produce increases in the number and frequency of flooding events, particularly during the winter period and during summer months due to high intensity thunderstorms.  Other future impacts that are likely to arise are:

  • In rural areas, the blocking of road gullies by silt following ploughing of adjacent fields. 
  • Increasing land runoff in steep, rural areas with high intensity rainfall events.
  • Increased blockages of gulleys and grids with tree debris and detritus during high storms and heavy rain, meaning that flash flood events will not be able to drain, and producing increased localised flooding.
  • The increasing trend for paving over gardens (development creep) combined with future intense rainfall further increasing capacity requirements within the drainage systems, exacerbating problems in towns and causing increased flooding problems.

 

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