British Queen celebrates

The Environment Agency has completed a £50 million flood risk mitigation scheme to better protect more than 1,400 properties - including 950 homes - in the

Perry Barr and Witton area of Birmingham.

The major project has seen the construction of a new flood storage reservoir at Forge Mill in the Sandwell Valley Country Park. The site is upstream of Perry Barr and Witton communities, and works to capture excess water from the River Tame during times of heavy rainfall.

The new reservoir will be able to store 1.7 million cubic metres of water - the equivalent of 680 Olympic swimming pools.

In very large floods, the area of stored water will now be able to extend back up the valley to Forge Mill Farm and Newton Road via the operation of a gate. For smaller flood events, the water will be stored within the banks of the river until it spills onto adjacent land.


This £50m project is one of 2,000 new schemes being built around England before 2027, helping to protect hundreds of thousands of properties

The Perry Barr and Witton area has a history of flooding, with around 400 properties flooding in June 2007 at Brookvale Road in Witton. Earlier floods took place in August 1988, August 1999, and July 2007.

Richard Bentley, Environment Agency operations manager for the West Midlands, said:

We’re delighted to have completed this major project which will help to better protect homes and businesses from flooding in the Perry Barr and Witton area. We know the devastating impact that flooding can have, which is why better protecting people, communities and the environment is our top priority.

We’d like to thank people for their patience while we worked on the flood storage area, during which time some parts of the Sandwell Valley Country Park were closed off. The work includes a new circular route around this new section of the park which we hope the community will enjoy.

Phase 1 of the scheme was largely completed in spring 2017, bringing new flood walls, flood gates and flow conveyance improvements from Brookvale Road in Witton, down to Gravelly Park Industrial Estate in Aston. The improved flood wall and flood gates in Witton successfully stopped properties from flooding in May 2018 and again in February 2020.

The project has been supported by Birmingham City Council and Sandwell Council.

Councillor Liz Clements, cabinet member for transport at Birmingham City Council, said:

This is really good news for the people of Perry Barr and Witton. It is vital that people and businesses are protected from the damage flooding can do, and this scheme demonstrates really good partnership working to support and protect communities.

Councillor Kerrie Carmichael, leader of Sandwell Council, added:

It’s great to see the scheme has been completed and is now providing vital flood defences to the communities further downstream on the River Tame. This project has seen improvements to the footpath network near to Forge Mill Lake and the River Tame, allowing better access for visitors to this beautiful location.

The facility includes 3 light beacons which are situated around the reservoir and will be turned on when the reservoir reaches a certain level indicating that walkers should leave the area.

The Environment Agency provides a flood warning service. Please contact the 24-hour Floodline service on 0345 988 1188 for any ongoing flood-related queries or advice.

The best way to protect yourself from flooding is to know what to do in advance. Download and save a simple Prepare, Act, Survive plan so you’ll know what to do when there’s a flood warning in your area.  Sign-up for flood warnings.

A record £5.2 billion will be invested between 2021-27, creating around 2,000 new flood and coastal risk management schemes to better protect hundreds of thousands of properties across England.

These schemes will help to avoid £32 billion in wider economic damages, reduce the national flood risk by up to 11 per cent, and reduce the risk of considerable disruption caused by potential future flooding to the daily lives of more than 4 million people.

It will better protect 550km of road and rail infrastructure, create or improve 5,440 hectares of natural habitat, and enhance 830km of rivers.

More than £860 million of this will be spent in 2021-22 boosting the design and construction of more than 1,000 schemes across England.

For every £1 spent improving protection, we avoid around £5 of property damages. Photo by Andy Mabbett, Wikimedia commons.