The Environment Agency [EA] had invited Sir George Young MP to witness a demonstration of their new portable flood defence system at Spring Hill Lodge in St Mary Bourne on Friday 28 November.
The EA team had arrived at 8.30am and by 10am assembled a 100 metre long defence wall structure made of aluminium with aluminium sheeting and a plastic cover to demonstrate how temporary protection to reduce flood risk in such a location can be achieved until a permanent flood risk solution has been identified for the area.
"I was very interested to see this new system, which was being demonstrated for the first time outside the EA's depot. It is relatively easy to transport, quick to assemble and take down, and can be re-used. I was pleased to see the Environment Agency pioneer this, and it will be of interest to local authorities and land owners."
James Humphrys, Environment Agency Area Manager said: “St Mary Bourne has historically suffered from flooding, with the most recent event in 2003. It is an ideal location to demonstrate these new flood defences and show how they would work during an actual flood incident. These portable defences are new technology [made in Sweden] that provide a quick and easy means to protect specific stretches against floodwater. They are reusable and offer many advantages over traditional sandbags.”
"The EA have stocked some 160 metres of such defences costing £800 per metre. The officers present accepted that the flood risk requiring this type of installation in St Mary Bourne was extremely unlikely but they were grateful to be able to demonstrate the system in a location where serious flooding had occurred in 2003."
With climate change likely to increase the risk of extreme weather events and floods, the Environment Agency has launched three simple flooding guides that offer crucial advice on how to protect home and family - before, during and after flooding.
The guides form an essential part of the Environment Agency’s ongoing Flood Awareness Campaign which urges every household and business to check their flood risk by calling Floodline on 0845 988 1188 or using the online postcode checker at www.environment-agency.gov.uk/flood.
James Humphrys added: “People must be prepared for floods and know what to do if the worst happens. We strongly advise that every household in a flood risk area has their own plan of action that can be quickly used during a flood emergency. All households should read our three new flooding guides, as in most cases preparation makes a big difference.”
(I am grateful to Michael Widén of the Planning Committee of St Mary Bourne Parish Council for the material for this news item.)