There was an interesting item on Radio 4’s The Today Programme this week about flood defences. It focused primarily on the village of Witney in Oxfordshire which was badly flooded in 2007. The measures taken by the local council to protect the area in the future sounds such a great idea.
The council spent a mere £40,000 on this unusual scheme and it seems to be working. The key element is that they are using local roads as a temporary river course at times of heavy rainfall.
A portion of wall has been taken out near the river and the levels of kerbs on various local roads have been made either higher or lower depending on their location. When the water rises, it comes through the hole in the wall and then runs down the roads, flowing across lower kerbs and held in place by higher kerbs. In this way it is diverted around the village and then re-enters the water course further downstream. Apparently the work only took three to four weeks to complete.
It’s a fascinating scheme and apparently it’s suitable for other locations across the country. You can hear the full piece on the BBC website (Today Programme, February 1st, around 45 minutes into the programme).