The Environment Agency has announced the completion of a new flood risk mitigation scheme that will contribute to improved protection of over a thousand properties in Birmingham.
More than 1400 buildings, including 950 homes, in the Perry Barr and Witton area will be protected from flooding through the construction of a new flood storage reservoir that will capture excess water from the River Tame when rainfall is heavy. Sitting upstream of the Perry Barr and Witton communities, the reservoir will be able to store 1.7 million cubic metres of water, which is the equivalent of 680 Olympic swimming pools.
The project cost £50 million to undertake and is one of 2,000 flood mitigation schemes that are concentrating on protecting hundreds of thousands of homes across the country.
Richard Bentley, Environment Agency operation manager for the West Midlands, said:
“We’re delighted to have completed this major project which will help to better protect homes and businesses from flooding in the Perry Barr and Witton area. We know the devastating impact that flooding can have, which is why better protecting people, communities and the environment is our top priority.
“We’d like to thank people for their patience while we worked on the flood storage area, during which time some parts of the Sandwell Valley Country Park were closed off. The work includes a new circular route around this new section of the park which we hope the community will enjoy.”
Another feature of the facility is the inclusion of three light beacons. These will be used to indicate that the water has reached a certain level and is warning walkers to leave the area. This has been implemented due to the nature of the facility, storing water before it being able to extend back up the valley through a gate during larger floods. In smaller floods, the water will be held in within the banks of the river until it spills onto the adjacent land.
Cabinet Member for Transport at Birmingham City Council, Councillor Liz Clements, added:
“This is really good news for the people of Perry Barr and Witton. It is vital that people and businesses are protected from the damage flooding can do, and this scheme demonstrates really good partnership working to support and protect communities.”
Councillor Kerrie Carmichael, Leader of Sandwell Council, said:
“It’s great to see the scheme has been completed and is now providing vital flood defences to the communities further downstream on the River Tame. This project has seen improvements to the footpath network near to Forge Mill Lake and the River Tame, allowing better access for visitors to this beautiful location.”
Between 2021 and 2027, a record investment of £5.2 billion will be made to create new flood and coastal risk management schemes, this will better protect hundreds of thousands of properties around the country whilst also helping to avoid £32 billion in wider economic damages. The national flood risk will also be reduced by up to 11%, as will the risk of considerable disruption to the daily lives of more than four million people.