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Halesowen to get state-of-the-art flood warning system
12:48pm Thursday 20th February 2014 in News
A STATE-OF-THE-ART early warning flood system using CCTV and high-tech sensors is set to be installed in Halesowen.
In a bid to prevent the devastating floods of 2008 the Environment Agency will remotely monitor the brook for water levels and debris.
The proposed system is the result of five years close cooperation between the Illey Brook Flood Committee, which is made up of flood endangered residents, Dudley Council and the Environment Agency.
However, the prospect of a new multi-million pound flood defence scheme in Halesowen has been ruled out unless local residents and businesses raise the money.
The developments were revealed in the latest Illey Brook Flood Committee report, written by Claude and Ruth Mosseri, consultant and secretary of the group, which is being distributed around flood endangered homes this week.
Mr Mosseri said: "The EA are currently looking to install a CCTV camera alongside the brook to remotely monitor the river levels in the area.
"The equipment would also contain sensors that automatically trigger an alert at specific river levels to be issued to the EA, DMBC and local residents."
The new system would relieve the work load on flood wardens who keep an eye on water levels throughout the year.
The EA paid for a feasibility study into new flood defences which highlighted two potential schemes which would remove 46 properties from the flood zone.
The first being extensive flood walls and embankments along the brook from Manor Way to Halesmere way costing £2.4million and an upstream water storage area near Halesowen Athletics Club costing £1.3m.
Mr Mosseri said: " The report shows that neither option is currently viable unless considerable third party contribution can be found."
Last week's storms and heavy rainfall resulted in the brook's level rising to 1.9metres which was the highest for a year but still lower than the 2008 floods due to the extensive work in the resulting time to ensure the brook, drains and culverts were free of debris.
However, on Saturday, the strong winds blew two trees into the brook and Halesowen North Councillor David Vickers, who has worked extensively with the IBFC and monitors water levels on an hourly basis when the weather is bad, was on the scene to remove the debris.
He said: "The new system would be wonderful for the residents as they have done so much work since the floods of 2008.
"They have forced the Environment Agency and Dudley Council to work with each other and come up with a plan which ensured the likely hood of the estate flooding again would be dramatically reduced."
He said: "Volunteers are monitoring Illey Brook every day, but the new cameras and sensors would mean that the Environment Agency and local residents are able to respond more quickly if water levels rise rapidly."
"Ruth, Claude and other volunteers on the Halesmere and Grange Crescent estates have done a lot of vital work over the past few years that has made a real difference locally.
I have raised a number of issues on their behalf with Ministers and in the House of Commons and we have seen action being taken at a national and local level."
Councillor Khurshid Ahmed, Dudley Council's cabinet member for transportation, added: "The work this committee delivers, like so many others across the country, is extremely valuable to those affected by the potential risk of flood and it's proactive work has helped save many properties from flood damage."