A multi-million pound scheme to reduce the flood risk in the heart of Birmingham is now operational and ready to protect residents and business owners from the misery caused by flooding.
The Selly Park North scheme, carried out by Team Van Oord on behalf of the Environment Agency, was funded by an innovative public-private partnership – with a £2m contribution from Calthorpe Estates.
The scheme protects 150 homes and key highway routes and infrastructure during times of flood, maintaining vital transport and emergency routes in an area that was affected by flooding in 2008, 2016 and more recently in May 2018.
The work involved deepening and widening an existing floodwater storage area near the Bourn Brook Walkway on Harborne Lane. This has increased the capacity of the storage area and created a new wildlife habitat.
The major part of the works is a 2.4 metre diameter, 227 metre long bypass culvert running underneath the Pershore Road (see pic). This tunnel will take water away from homes to safely flow into the river downstream.
Jon Saner, from the Environment Agency, said: “We’ve worked closely with the local community and partners to deliver this scheme, which will help protect homes and businesses from future flooding.
“This community has experienced the terrible effects of flooding and the measures we’ve built here reduce future risk. We would like to thank local people for their patience and support throughout the building of this scheme.”
Selly Park North compliments the Selly Park South scheme which was completed in January 2018. Together the two schemes improve protection for more than 350 homes and businesses in the heart of Birmingham.
The area of Selly Park has a history of flooding from the River Rea, the Bourn Brook and surface water. The Environment Agency has been working in partnership with Birmingham City Council, Calthorpe Estates and other organisations to develop schemes to help reduce the risk of flooding for properties in the area.
In March 2019, Team Van Oord was thanked by local residents for the way the company has delivered the two schemes, and its attempts to minimise inconvenience and disruption.
Selly Park North and South – in more detail
Under the Selly Park North scheme, which was ‘fast tracked’ by the Environment Agency, the existing ground level was raised at the three-acre site of the former BBC Sports and Social Club at Pebble Mill – an area which has previously been unusable in planning terms due to its flood status.
A flood relief overflow channel off Bourn Brook further reduced flows to and under the Pershore Road Bridge. From here, a new tunnel was constructed to form an underground flood relief culvert, which allows a second flood water route to pass under Pershore Road to the River Rea, thereby completing the flood mitigation scheme.
The Selly Park South scheme has reduced the risk to more than 200 residential and commercial properties.
The scheme comprised the construction of an embankment and a pile cladded wall to prevent water from overtopping the River Rea and creation of an area to store water during storm events.
New reinforced concrete walls were constructed to protect the properties directly affected by the works, which commenced in September 2016 and the scheme was officially opened in January 2018.
07 May 2019