A strategy to avoid a repeat of a tragic flooding in Walsall which claimed the life of a pensioner has been adopted.
Walsall Council’s cabinet approved a new flood risk management plan, at a meeting on Wednesday (March 20), designed to boost safety measures and provide reassurance to communities.
The authority responded following devastating floods in May last year. Heavy rainfall, more than 120 properties in areas including Aldridge, Streetly, Bloxwich and Willenhall suffered internal flooding.
But tragedy struck when 82-year-old Evesham man Peter Harnwell tragically died when his car became submerged in water in Lichfield Road, Walsall.
As part of the plan, a budget allocation of £400,000 has been approved to carry out gully cleansing in hotspots to prevent water building up on the highways.
Officers are also exploring opportunities to attract external funding for further measures to alleviate risks during inclement weather.
The authority organises meetings with other agencies to discuss incidents, exchange information and learn lessons from incidents.
Walsall Council leader Mike Bird said: “Last year, we had an incident where a gentleman lost his life when he got into difficulties.
“Someone tried to rescue him but sadly they were unable to help him. It is always tragic when we lose life, especially when it could have been avoided. There were flood warnings in place.
“We always under-estimate the power of water but it takes no prisoners.
“But this report is an honest assessment and it is the first step in making sure this is a safer borough for everyone.
“Clearing gulleys is especially important as they do cause water to overflow on to the carriageways.”
Councillor Garry Perry, portfolio holder for community safety, said he has previously visited Yorkshire to provide volunteer support after the region was hit by floods.
He said: “I never thought that what happened in Yorkshire would happen in Walsall.
“I had people ringing me up and I struggled with that in terms of knowing where to send people for help and advise what they should do.
“When we saw some of the properties affected in Walsall, it was similar to what I had seen in Yorkshire.
“This is a good step in my opinion to reassure people in Walsall who are worried about flooding.”