Express & Star

Environment Agency hails £50m new defences for Sandwell Valley after flooding stopped during Storm Babet

New £50 million flood defences in Sandwell Valley have been branded a success after working perfectly during the recent Storm Babet.

The new overflow pool filling up during Storm Babet

The Environment Agency built the new Forge Mill flood water storage reservoir to stop the repeated flooding of the River Tame in Perry Barr and Witton.

The Environment Agency posted pictures of the new flood defences working during the storm.

They tweeted: "The new Perry Barr & Witton Flood Risk Management Scheme in Sandwell Valley had its first operational use during Storm Babet.

"The penstocks, that open and close based on downstream river levels, held the River Tame back in the storage area.".

The new reservoir can store 1.7 million cubic metres of water - the equivalent of 680 Olympic swimming pools.

The new gates can be opened to stop floods

In very large floods, the area of stored water will now be able to extend back up the valley to Forge Mill Farm and Newton Road via the operation of a gate. For smaller flood events, the water will be stored within the banks of the river until it spills onto adjacent land.

Perry Barr and Witton area has a history of flooding, with around 400 properties flooding in June 2007 at Brookvale Road in Witton. Earlier floods took place in August 1988, August 1999, and July 2007.

Sandwell Council leader Councillor Kerrie Carmichael 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."

The new overflow pool filling up during Storm Babet

The facility includes three light beacons which are situated around the reservoir and will be turned on when the reservoir reaches a certain level indicating that walkers should leave the area.

The Environment Agency provides a flood warning service. Please contact the 24-hour Floodline service on 0345 988 1188 for any ongoing flood-related queries or advice.