Although Birmingham is roughly 500 feet above sea level, and flooding has tended to occur in the flood plains of rivers and brooks, increasingly rapid run off of severe rainfall from saturated land is a problem. The Birmingham council website ominously – or prudently – advises:

The River Cole (below), whose rapid floods quickly subside, is monitored by the Environment Agency.

 In a parliamentary written answer [11.6.12], the River Cole in Sparkhill is ‘identified as a regional priority’ and scheduled for work by the Flood Alleviation Scheme, Midlands Environment Agency.

Earlier this year the Environment Agency confirmed it was approving £600k worth of flood defence improvements and exploratory work on waterways within the city.  A 130m wall or embankment will be built to protect properties bordering the River Cole at Colebourne Court in Sheldon and further funding will be spent making improvements along the course of the River Rea. Options for reducing flood risks along the River Cole and its tributaries will be examined in areas including Nethercote Gardens, Solihull and Formans Rd, Sparkhill, and the main river section up to Coventry Road.

The Birmingham Resilience Group has arrangements in place to monitor and respond to flooding in Birmingham. Birmingham City Council and the Environment Agency have worked closely with flood-affected communities to support the development of local community flood warning plans.

A ‘Floodline’ telephone service can be accessed day or night for real-time flood warnings and advice: FLOODLINE 0845 988 1188. Anyone who is at risk from flooding from rivers and within one of the Environment Agency, Flood Warning Areas will automatically be signed-up to receive warnings to their landline telephone.

The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Richard Benyon, said that intensive negotiations with the insurance industry on alternative arrangements are needed, as the Statement of Principles expires on 30th June. He has discussed the issues with insurers at a recent conference.