Commissioning of flood gates and glass panels at New Passage

We have taken another leap forward this month with the commissioning of the flood gate and glass panel defences at New Passage, South Gloucestershire. This is a vital process towards ensuring that the new defences will help protect communities from the threat of flooding and rising sea levels. 

Weighing over a tonne, the flood gates used on the project are a substantial part of the flood defence network. Unlike those found elsewhere, these gates can be mechanically and manually operated. This makes it much easier to open and close them for Environment Agency staff in a range of circumstances. The flood gate at New Passage is one of several being installed throughout the 17km project area, with others at Lamplighter’s Marsh and in Aust.  

To perform the test, two tonnes of water was pumped behind the gate with site staff observing carefully for any leakages. If any were spotted, the seals on the gate were adjusted and the test resumed. The same process was repeated on a section of the glass panel flood defences at New Passage. You can watch a short video of the test taking place to gain an idea of how the flood gate and glass panels withstand the levels of water that are possible in decades to come. 

Colin Taylor, Senior Flood & Coastal Risk Management Advisor at the Environment Agency, said: “We have installed a flood gate to allow access to the seaward side of the new raised flood defences at New Passage. The testing of the flood defences that have been installed this year is a crucial point for the project. We are now seeing how they stand up to the kind of real-world conditions that may occur if sea levels continue to rise in the decades ahead.” 

Cllr Toby Savage, Leader of South Gloucestershire Council and Cabinet Member with responsibility for Climate Change, said: “Seeing the flood gate and glass panel defences in action is a clear visual reminder of how far the ASEA project is has come. The rigorous testing happening now is incredibly important to give confidence to New Passage residents that the flood defences here will help provide protection from the effects of climate change and rising sea levels.” 

Cllr Nicola Beech, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Strategic Planning, Resilience and Floods, Bristol City Council, said: “I’m incredibly pleased with the progress being made on this ambitious project where we are now getting on with testing the flood defences that have been installed. The glass panel flood defences are one of several innovative solutions that will better protect residents and businesses from flooding in the future. They will also preserve views of the Severn Estuary which provides a home for internationally significant species of bird, such as curlew and shelduck.”