Residents unveil new defences to fight the floods

Flood defences to protect Aylesbury’s Willows estate will be out on display on Saturday (September 12).

And residents will take a major role in using them if another flood ever threatens.

The defences aim to stop the kind of deluge that flooded 79 homes on the estate in the severe storms of winter 2013/14.

Nearly half a mile of emergency flood defence barrier, that can be deployed by residents, has been bought from a £340,000 repair and renewal grant from the Government.

And six mobile pumps, two of which will clear enough water to fill 120 bathtubs every minute, will be kept on standby at the County Council’s nearby Griffin Lane depot.

The equipment was chosen by a steering group made up of residents, county, district and town councillors, council officers, Thames Water and the Environment Agency.

County councillor Steve Lambert, who chaired the steering group, paid tribute to the partnership, particularly the residents’ flood group formed after the storms.

‘Everyone more than pulled their weight to work together to reach a good solution,’ said Steve. ‘Permanent flood defences would have been prohibitively expensive, but I believe we’ve got the best emergency defences for the money available.’

Steve added: ‘I believewe were the first to ask the government whether we could pool the individual repairs and renewals grants to each of the 79 householders, so that the whole community of 450 homes would benefit.’

Strategic Flood Management Officer Alex Back, who led the Willows flood alleviation project, said that already, a large metal screen had been installed across nearby Stoke Brook to catch debris flowing downstream that could cause a blockage.

He said the flood of winter 2013/14, the result of a combination of surface water and flooding from the nearby brook, was reckoned to be a one in 30 year event. The emergency defences going on display on Saturday would, he said, cope with a one in 100 year flood.

On Saturday residents will host a barbecue lunch for around 100, whileBuckinghamshire County Council officers demonstratethe flood barrier and high-capacity pumps.