SENSORS failed on flood defences in Kempsey, says an independent report.

Fifteen properties flooded in Kempsey on November 24 after heavy rain.

An independent report released today found that automatic sensors that operate the pumps at Kempsey malfunctioned.

A spokesman for the Environment Agency said: "The pumps are now working and will be manually operated this winter. We will ensure the faults are rectified as soon as possible so the pumping station operates automatically as it is designed to." 

Anthony Perry, West Midlands Flood Risk Manager, said: “We work hard to protect communities from flooding and our defences in England and Wales protected over 177,000 homes and businesses from floods this year.

“We are very sorry that the pumping station did not operate as intended in Kempsey especially as it had operated successfully twice this year. Our thoughts go out to the residents affected.

“We will continue to be in Kempsey to switch on the pumps at times of flood until the faults are fixed, and will work with the local community to regain their trust in this scheme.”

West Worcestershire MP Harriett Baldwin who opened the £1.7 million defences on July 28,  said: "The Environment Agency has acted swiftly to get to the bottom of what happened in Kempsey and I thank them for sharing this information so quickly.

"The report says that the pumps did work but that the information they received was not accurate owing to sensor failure.

“This needs to be fixed immediately so that people in Kempsey can have confidence that the flood defences will work as expected in the future."

"For insurance purposes, people need still to make a claim and then the insurance company can handle discussions with the Environment Agency. If anyone needs me to support them through the process, I am willing to help.

"I will also be requesting that the Environment Agency also send out a flood alert in the future to homeowners if their own internal monitoring ever again sends them the kind of alert that triggers the dispatch of an engineer to this pumping site.

"Malvern Hills District Council has also made ex-gratia cash payments to help those residents affected. "