New flood sirens for Norfolk coastline?
The latest flood sirens could be installed along Norfolk's coastline for a capital investment of �800,000, say the county's campaigners.New light has been thrown on the sirens debate in the Wells area and beyond after one of the political groups at Norfolk County Council revealed the results of its research into the cost of a replacement system.
The latest flood sirens could be installed along Norfolk's coastline for a capital investment of �800,000, say the county's campaigners.
New light has been thrown on the sirens debate in the Wells area and beyond after one of the political groups at Norfolk County Council revealed the results of its research into the cost of a replacement system.
According to the Liberal Democrat group, �800,000 would buy the 35 multi-functional sirens needed for the entire coast. The figure of 35 is slightly lower than a suggested 39 sirens in a previous council report but would be adequate because of the strength of the modern sirens, it says.
Whether the findings help those who want to retain a Norfolk flood siren presence remains unclear, but the figure should help inform the three-year debate.
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This has been at an impasse for months, with police saying the present sirens are old and unreliable and so won't be used, and the Environment Agency urging the use of the alternative floodline warnings direct phone-based system; this in turn has been criticised by coastal communities for being ineffective.
The �800,000 quote came after a day-long visit by four senior staff from Woodway Engineering, which supplies audio-visual warning systems around the world to emergency services, the vehicle recovery industry and the UK Ministry of Defence. The sirens would provide a much more flexible service than at present which could be used by a range of authorities, according to sirens campaigner Marie Strong, pictured left, who is also a county councillor at Wells.
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“They can be set up for other emergency services to use including, for instance, the RNLI, who were recently told that the use of maroons to alert people they were launching would be restricted. That in turn could see the cost spread,” she said.
Woodway's visit had cost nothing, added Dr Strong.
“In fact, it was a very simple process because they made the initial contact. These new sirens would have six distinct siren tones, 16 pre-recorded voice messages, a live public address capacity, battery back-up to make them independent of mains electricity, solar-charging capability, and they can be silently tested,” she said.
Paul Morse, leader of the
Lib Dem group at County Hall, said: “Whilst more research needs to be done, it is clear that modern flood sirens are financially a realistic option. We have long recognised the need to protect Norfolk's coastal residents and have put on the table an affordable and attractive option.”
But an Environment Agency spokesman said: “Our posit-ion remains unchanged, insofar as sirens do not have a role in our approach to flood warnings.”