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RISING TO THE OCCASION

Removable flood barriers are being planned for Midland towns in a bid to halt severe flooding. The system, to be trialled by the Environment Agency, uses removable aluminium planks slotted into 'H' section uprights that are bolted down into permanent concrete strip footings.

Compressible rubber seals between the 3m long planks keep the system more watertight than sandbags, and make the system quicker to erect. 'A gang of men can put up 100m in an hour, ' said EA project manager Kevin Boulton. Site investigation for a 160m installation starts next week at Bewdley on the north bank of the River Severn.

Further installations are planned on the Severn at Shrewsbury. The first UK installation of the system, commonly used in Germany, is planned for October 2001, with £1M funding coming from the £160M which has been promised by the Government after recent flooding. If successful the EA could spend up to £8M on 5km of defences around Bewdley and Shrewsbury.

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