Permit wait 'holding up landslide repairs'

A wooden fence partially collapsed into the river
An embankment near Morpeth gave way more than six months ago [BBC]

A council says it is unable to carry out urgent repairs to a road because it does not have permission from a government agency.

An embankment on the B6343 Mitford Road near Morpeth, Northumberland, failed over six months ago with part of the road collapsing.

Northumberland County Council leader Glen Sanderson said: “We want to get on with the repair job but we need permits from the Environment Agency."

The agency says it is in discussions with the council but has yet to receive a permit application.

Since the landslip, three-way traffic lights have been in place which are causing long delays.

A sign saying 3 way control
A traffic light system has been in place around the collapse [BBC]

Morpeth sits in the river Wansbeck's floodplain and has a long history of flooding, most recently in 2008 when over 1,000 homes and businesses were affected and again in 2012.

The Environment Agency (EA) is responsible for issuing permits that gives legal permission for repairs that could affect flood risks.

Mr Sanderson is urging "a speedy turnaround" of this process.

“We need to go through the EA’s process twice; once for a permit for the ground investigation, followed by a permit for the main works" he said.

"These lights are causing significant delays to residents and businesses as well as ongoing costs to the council."

In a statement the Environment Agency said: “Our teams are in discussions with Northumberland County Council but have not yet received a permit application.

"We appreciate the benefits and urgency of the required work and will process any application as soon as possible.”

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