Protecting West Bromwich from floods

The River Tame Flood Risk Management Strategy (the strategy) outlines schemes to manage flood risk management on the River Tame while providing environmental benefits to the surrounding area for one hundred years, beginning in 2009. The Perry Barr and Witton scheme is one of six separate projects that will enact the strategy’s recommendations along the River Tame. This is particularly relevant to the 1400 properties at risk from flooding.

The £14.3-million project, funded by the Environment Agency and Birmingham City Council, involves constructing an additional flood storage area at Forge Mill in Sandwell Valley, upstream of Perry Barr and Witton, which will control filtering floodwater downstream.

The flood storage area, which will be the largest in the UK, is designed to hold 1.7 million cubic metres of water and protect 1400 homes and businesses. RSK Habitat Management worked closely with Jackson Civil Engineering to deliver a reinstatement project.

Project constraints

Originally, the client was intending to import 7,200 m3 of clean topsoil because the proposed material for seeding did not meet the client specification. Our innovative solution involved four passes of the site material using a harrow, stone picker and burier before a Cambridge roller. The results produced a high-quality surface that was successfully signed off by the Environment Agency.

Working collaboratively with our RSK sister company, Salix, our team installed 29,000 m2 of Salix Vmax C350 on the slopes to provide long-term, vegetated erosion protection and permanent turf reinforcement. We prepared 48,000 m2 of the embankment and associated areas for seeding using a hydroseeding unit and associated specialist tackifiers and mulches to facilitate application on a steep slope.

Our expert soil knowledge provided the client with a cost-effective cultivation solution that represented a significant cost saving (66%) on importing clean material and a consequent saving on the project’s carbon footprint.