Flood-risk towns to receive revolutionary new barrier

As part of a newly-announced £106 million package of flood spending, Shrewsbury and Bewdley, two of the towns most vulnerable to flooding in the UK, are to receive collapsible flood barriers.


As part of a newly-announced £106 million package of flood spending, Shrewsbury and Bewdley, two of the towns most vulnerable to flooding in the UK, are to receive collapsible flood barriers.

The announcement made by Flood and Coastal Defence Minister Elliot Morley will benefit the two towns situated on the River Severn, which were both the scenes of some of the country’s worst floods last autumn and have a 30% chance of serious flooding annually, a DEFRA spokesperson told edie. The collapsible steel barriers that can be put up within hours and taken down again once the danger has passed, are the first to be in use in the UK.

The councils of both towns had previously rejected having permanent concrete flood barriers installed because it was thought they would destroy scenic views and harm the tourist industry. Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott was won over by the new technology, as it is used in the Rhine Valley, a tourist haven. Teams of workmen will be trained in the Severn area to slot shutters into concrete bases when a flood warning is given.

Last year, the UK company, Hydroscience, unveiled a new flood fighting technology which is made of fabric (see related story).

In a separate move, Morley announced a £31.4 million strategy for sea defences in north Norfolk, covering 8.5 kilometres of low-lying coastline between Hunstanton, Heacham and Snettisham, which is characterised by a mix of urban development, holiday parks, beach properties and national and international nature reserves. “The need for works was highlighted by the severe weather in September which damaged defences in the area and caused residents to be evacuated from their homes,” Morley said.

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