Bournemouth University graduate and award-winning flood protection developer Simon Phelps, claims that sandbags are failing to protect homes and businesses devastated by recent floods where the damage costs are predicted to exceed £1.3bn.

Simon, founder and director of Fluvial Innovations, who created the FLOODSTOP barrier, has called for local authorities to look for more effective solutions to deal with flooding across towns and cities in the UK, commenting: “Following the recent floods and storms, sandbags have been widely used in flood-hit areas despite the availability of more practical and cost effective solutions. These measures seem to have more of a placebo effect than any real form of flood protection.

“With yet more flood devastation predicted, it’s crucial we use defences that actually work, to protect residents and businesses from losing everything.”

In 2007, Sir Michael Pitt was asked to compile a report on flooding defences within the UK, which suggested that sandbags were of ‘limited use’ and should be ‘phased out’ in conjunction with a raft of other measures designed to protect the public. The report, which made more than 92 proposals, will form the basis of a new government review of its flood protection policy this year.

Simon added: “Sandbags are ineffective and comparatively expensive to alternatives, considering that they can only be used once. Empty sandbag sacks have to be bought and filled, which uses both manpower and time – two resources that are in short supply in a flooded area.

“Even when they are in position, sandbags are prone to excessive leakage, and when used, bags rot and decay, so they are unusable for future floods.”

FLOODSTOP can be rapidly assembled by one user and is reusable. More than 10 miles of FLOODSTOP barriers are currently in operation across the country including in North East England and Devon as well as areas in Europe and the USA.

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