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Floodgates could be used to protect community
FLOODGATES could be installed to protect a community badly affected by rising waters a year ago.
A council ‘task group’ was formed to help reduce future risks following floods in the autumn of 2012 which saw businesses closed, roads blocked and homes flooded.
At one stage at the end of September 90 millimetres (3.5 inches) of rain fell in just 48 hours. It was the worst flooding in the town since the autumn of 2000.
Blackbrook was the most severely hit when the Ship Inn flooded after the Sankey Canal burst its banks.
Neighbours in nearby homes on West End Road could do nothing to halt the rising water levels into their homes.
Councillors on Environment and Safer Communities Overview and Scrutiny Panel examined how future floods risks could be reduced across St Helens.
The report noted “we are facing a future of erratic, un-seasonal and extreme weather with flooding becoming the highest risk for the town”.
In their review of flood defences, they state while flooding can never be completely prevented there are a series of recommendations aimed at tackling the issue.
These include seeking funding to carry out detailed studies of notorious flood spots, regular maintenance and assessments of drainage spots and underground water channels.
They also called on further investigations into alternative methods of flood defence and their most effective use.
They said they will request the Environment Agency to consider floodgates being fitted near the canal at Blackbrook.
Improving properties in high risk areas, through waterproof doors or special airbricks was another suggestion.
Much was made about the importance of early communication with people in high risk areas, highlighting any possible risk as early as possible.
Monitoring systems similar to that at Peasley Cross rail ridge, which warn drivers when floodwaters have reached a depth of 150 mm (six inches) in the road, could also be introduced at the blackspots of College Street and Islands Brow.
The report concluded: “We believe that informing people a flood is about to happen is vital as it gives them time to prepare.
“We would also encourage those in risk areas to make a flood plan so they are ready when the warning comes.
“Residents of St Helens who live in identified flood risk areas should not rely upon the council to respond to a threat of flooding to their property but should have in place their own flood protection plan.”
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