There are approximately 1,400 properties at risk from this section of the River Tame, including 950 residential properties. The Environment Agency, supported by Birmingham City Council, is currently carrying out work to repair and improve existing defences and build new ones. This includes increasing the capacity of an existing flood storage area in the Sandwell Valley.
The Perry Barr and Witton Flickr album shows the impact of previous flooding in the area and photos of phase 1 work.
The Environment Agency has completed the river channel works and the improvement and rebuilding of flood walls along Brookvale Road and Tame Road. Decorative panels have been installed and permanent railings along parts of the wall length are in place. There is also a new viewing platform at the upstream end of the wall next to the bus stops where people can rest and view the river.
Construction work further downstream on phase 1 of the scheme should be complete by spring 2017.
The latest Neighbours Newsletter (autumn 2016 edition) is now available to download.
The Environment Agency is building the scheme in 2 phases:
- phase 1: flood wall and flow conveyance improvements through Witton and down to Witton Gravelly Industrial Estate
- phase 2: increased flood storage at Forge Mill
Phase 1 consists of rebuilding the existing flood walls along Brookvale Road, constructing new walls alongside Atlas Industrial Estate and at the back of the warehouses along Tame Road. In addition, works will be carried out to stop water flowing underneath the railway line between Electric Avenue and the A38 and a redundant sewer crossing the Tame at Walker Drive will be removed.
Construction started in summer 2015 and is due for completion in spring 2017. Once completed, phase 1 will provide a reduction in flood risk for Witton, but it will not raise the standard of protection significantly.
The current proposal for phase 2 is to build an embankment to increase the capacity of the existing storage area at Forge Mill in the Sandwell Valley. Detailed design of this phase has begun and will determine:
- how it will be constructed
- how it will operate
- how often it will fill
- how much it will cost
The aim is to submit a planning application for this phase of works in spring 2017 to enable construction to start in 2017 and be completed 12 to 18 months later.
Once phase 2 is complete it will provide improved flood protection with a 1 in 100 chance of a flood occurring in any one year, to the community of Witton.
The Tame Strategy
The Perry Barr and Witton scheme is 1 of 6 separate projects that take forward the recommendations of the River Tame flood risk management strategy. The strategy aims to reduce the risk of flooding to people and property along the River Tame.
Flood storage was not the primary option recommended in the Tame Strategy. At the time of the strategy the option to raise flood walls along the river appeared to be the most cost effective option. With further investigation it has been found that the ground conditions through Witton would make construction of flood walls too expensive, so the option of flood storage has been looked at again.
The Environment Agency has been engaging with the community since Phase 1 began, through a variety of drop-in sessions, newsletters, ward meetings and face to face meetings.
The last public drop-in event was held at Forge Mill Farm visitor centre on Wednesday 2nd November.
Future drop in sessions will now be focussed on Phase 2 and will be scheduled for spring 2017.
Work with other organisations
The Environment Agency is also working with MADE during the design of phase 1. MADE is an organisation which has been successful in receiving funding through the Arts Council to encourage local people to think about the River Tame and what it means to them through a partner project called ‘Tamed’. Their activities have involved community days, guided walks, the reinvention of the Witton News, and school workshops. Information about community activity surrounding the scheme is available on the Tamed blog
As part of their involvement, the MADE artists have also been leading on the design of the cladding for the Brookvale Road wall in Witton and the viewing platform.
The funding for this scheme (Defra’s Flood Defence Grant in Aid) is only provided for work which directly reduces or manages flood risk to an area. The artistic designs are therefore not covered by the Environment Agency’s allocated budget, therefore third party contributions are required to help fund them.
In 2015 MADE launched a crowdfunding campaign to help raise funds for these artworks. The Environment Agency thanks the businessess who supported this initiative and MADE’s work for the Witton community.
Recognition of Community Support (RoCS)
Last year the Environment Agency launched Recognition of Community Support (RoCS). RoCS aims to recognise business and community groups who work with the Environment Agency to address flooding issues, either through direct contribution or contributions in kind. We have already received a great deal of interest in the scheme.
The RoCS has 2 different award levels:
Champion RoCS award
A business and community group who has made a large effort to engage with the flood risk management scheme, resulting in tangible benefits to the area and the community.
Participant RoCS award
A business or community group who has helped deliver the flood risk management scheme.
For more information on RoCS email email@example.com.
Flood insurance information
DEFRA has information regarding getting insurance or reducing your premium in areas that are at flood risk.
Get in touch
To find out more about this scheme, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 03708 506 506 and ask for the Perry Barr and Witton public liaison officer.