Flood defences pass first test

By Ian Dipple 02/05 Updated: 03/05 14:26

Buy photos » Alcester councillors at the opening of the town's flood defences last year which have passed their first test during recent heavy rainfall. Picture by Alex Bradbury 2411015ABR

ALCESTER's new flood defences have passed their first serious test since being installed.

Flood alerts were issued for the River Alne and River Arrow on Sunday evening (April 29) as the town was battered by strong winds and heavy rainfall.

Levels peaked on the River Alne about 9pm with 3.1 metres of water recorded, just half a metre lower than the record set during the devastating floods of July 2007 when more than 200 homes were left uninhabitable and businesses were hit. The River Arrow peaked at 1.2metres, a long way from the 2.72 metre high four years ago but still more than double usual levels.

But a £2.5million project to include upgrading drains, install an underground storage tank with the capacity to store 3.25million litres of sewage and two pumps capable of pumping 2,000 litres of water per second have helped protect the town this time although the pumps were not called into action with only the pump at Malt Mill Lane used intermittently over a brief period.

Although the flood defences were finished last summer, the sewage alleviation works were only completed recently.

Coun Mike Gittus, Alcester's Flood Defence Champion, said he was delighted with how well the new measures had coped.

"I am pleased to say the improvements to the drainage have been enough at this stage to cope with the extra water from the constant rain," he said.

"With two rivers nearby, the town is particularly vulnerable to flooding. However, so far so good. The improvements are doing their job and averting any repeat of the damage that was caused in 2007 by the floods.

"We have yet to need the pumps, although obviously we are ready should the need arise. Residents can take a lot of reassurance that the work that has taken place to protect the town is standing up to the test."

But Graeme Smith, Warwickshire’s Chief Fire Officer and chairman of the local resiliency forum Warwickshire Prepared, said while the flood defence measures were working residents should still take measures to protect themselves and their homes in the event of flooding.

Visit www.warwickshire.gov.uk/prepared for advice on what to do in the event of a flood warning. Residents can also visit www.environment-agency.gov.uk to sign up to the Environment Agency's alert scheme or call floodline on 0845 988 1188.

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