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Flood Warning Signs installed at Shebbear for Devon County Council


As part of the DEFRA funded Devon Pathfinder project, which HLS have delivered across Devon to improve resilience and provide warning to many local communities, we have recently installed some flood warning signs at Shebbear and Sheepwash.

The ‘trigger’ event which caused the installation of the warning signs was the potentially fatal incident when a woman and her daughter tried to ford the floodwater after dark at Sheepwash Bridge. Their car was swept off the road and into the adjacent woods by the force of the current. After failed attempts to rescue them by a helicopter, the terrified occupants, feeling the car beginning to move in the current, escaped via the sunroof and were pulled to safety by a fire brigade dingy.

There had been a previous incident near Black Torrington Bridge where a tractor driver had to be winched from the cab by a helicopter.All three crossing points had seen numerous incidents over the years where cars had been written off by drivers entering floodwater.

The system installed involves a water level gauge installed within the river, which activates LED flashing signs so that they are active, when there is water on the road. When a car approaches, the Moving Vehicle Detector causes the sign to illuminate and warn the motorist about the flood water. The water level sensor and signs are all stand alone units, which are battery powered (with the signs trickle charged by solar power) and use GPRS to communicate with each other. The local Parish council can view the levels and alter the thresholds at which the signs operate via the Timeview Telemetry website (www.timeview.net).

Telemetered water level site installed at Shebbear (left) and the graph of the water level on Timeview showing that the signs have been activated twice in recent weeks (right)

The flood warning sign at Shebbear (left) on the northern approach to Dipper Mill, about one mile from the crossing and a close up of an illuminated LED sign (right).

Following installation of the signs, HLS have provided training to the local community in the use of Timeview Telemetry and continue to offer pro-active support to the parish council.

Rich Clark, chairman of Shebbear Parish Council said: “Gone are the days when a white post stuck in the ground is an adequate warning. With residents needing to cross the River Torridge on a daily basis for work, the school run and so on, some way of giving them plenty of notice that the river is out was essential. With this new technology they can instantly see from the internet if they can find another route."

This is one of the over 650 flood warning sites that Hydro-Logic Service currently operate in the UK for over 65 local authorities, the Environment Agency and private customers such as Lidl, Tesco and Asda. If we can help you to manage flood risk in your area, as we are doing for so many other customers, please get in touch.


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