Plans to update flood defence systems welcomed after deluge hit 330 Solihull homes - The Solihull Observer

Plans to update flood defence systems welcomed after deluge hit 330 Solihull homes

Solihull Editorial 28th Jan, 2019 Updated: 28th Jan, 2019   0

PLANS to update flood defence systems have been welcomed by councillors after a devastating deluge hit more than 330 Solihull homes last May.

A report examining the freak downfall, which saw over a month’s worth of rain in just under an hour, has been released.

Solihull Council chiefs say the ‘unprecedented’ downpour on May 27 last year caused flooding which left hundreds of residents stranded and properties wrecked.

The council’s flood management team has completed its investigation and published its results, including an in-depth analysis of 11 areas at risk of future flooding.

The report states it will investigate whether to implement flood walls, embankments and upstream storage to provide a buffer against future floods.

As we reported in June, many residents were angry at what they perceived as the council’s failure to protect them from floods and an inadequate response in its wake.

Areas in Blythe, Shirley West, Hockley Heath and Olton were ravaged by floods while major roads were rendered impassable and water networks burst their banks.

Some residents remain in temporary accommodation nine months on while others struggle with repairing their homes.

The report which considered the experiences of local residents states: “Many of the properties that were affected are shown to be at risk from flooding on mapping produced by the Environment Agency.

“Eleven locations have been investigated in more detail to identify the causes and mechanisms of the flooding.

“Work has included condition surveys of watercourses, culverts, attenuation features, surface water sewer and highway drainage systems, with follow up work being arranged on the occasions where it has been found necessary.”

It includes details of “some potential future options to help reduce the risk of flooding.”

It added: “Whilst the main focus is community wide avoidance or defence scheme, there will also be a place for measures to be taken at an individual level by owners of properties to help make themselves more resilient or resistant to flooding.”

Cabinet member for the environment Tony Dicicco said: “What we saw last May was truly unprecedented.

“Unfortunately due to the nature of the event it was almost impossible to predict or plan for.

“Each of the locations affected has been thoroughly investigated and I would like to thank the local residents who have met with our officers to share their experiences and help pull this report together.

“We now need to see what funding we can secure, as well as consider the potential benefits of any proposed flood reduction schemes.”

Coun Tim Hodgson said: “Some people lost everything and I am pleased that lessons have been learned and there is recognition that more work needs to be done.

“Detailed modelling work is being carried out to develop business cases for new flood defence systems.

“Other actions have included drains being cleared and supplies of floodsax will be provided to residents in at risk areas.

“More rain gauges are being installed in the River Blythe and Cole which will help develop a better warning system for residents and communication plans are being improved between agencies.”

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