COUNCILLORS in Moreton are calling for the removal of a makeshift "dam" bridging a river which they claim led to flooding.

They are concerned after rubble from a building project - ironically to reduce the risk of flooding - was dumped into the Arrowe Brook to create a temporary bridge for construction vehicles to cross.

The Environment Agency said investigations are ongoing but they do not believe the dam added to the flooding, which forced dozens of householders to leave their homes after a month's rain fell in 48 hours.

The worst affected area was Moreton where torrential downpours on Wednesday, September 2, caused the River Fender and River Birket to burst their banks adding to already high water levels.

After a week of site investigations, Cllr Chris Blakeley says he has learned that a temporary dam on the Arrowe Brook was built when United Utilities work was being carried out nearby.

Wirral Globe:
Councillors Chris Blakeley and Bruce Berry at the dam on the Arrowe Brook in Moreton.

Councillor Blakeley told the Globe today: "It was shocking to find that a considerable amount of waste and rubble had been dumped into the Arrowe Brook to create a makeshift bridge for construction vehicles to cross.

"This appears to have had a knock-on effect which, combined with a period of heavy rainfall, meant water could not flow along the Brook but instead backed-up into people’s homes."

He added: "More than 30 homes have been damaged, families displaced and others left feeling vulnerable as they fear this could happen again.

"I believe the council's coastal drainage team and the Environment Agency must work quickly to ensure this dam is removed and that the Arrowe Brook is cleared of all rubbish, debris and undergrowth."

Mark Garratt from the Environment Agency said: “United Utilities is undertaking works on the River Birkett that have been consented by the Environment Agency.

“We agreed to the construction of a temporary works access bridge that appears in the photograph.  

“To prevent any disruption to the flow of the river, the structure includes pipes at the bottom that allow water to pass through, as well as allowing water to pass above it when flows become higher.

“At this time, we do not consider that the presence of the structure increased flood risk to the local area. 

“Based on pictures received on Wednesday from councillor Blakeley, the river level, while high, does not appear to be affected by the structure. 

"We know this because it is clear from the image that there is no change between the upstream and downstream flow of the river."

He continued: “Last week’s flooding was a rare and extreme incident that saw a month’s worth of rain fall in 36 hours. 

"This affected the entire water network, with the drainage system and river struggling to cope with the amount of rainfall.

“We will support Wirral Council with their investigation into the flooding but our priority for now is working with those affected and getting them the support they need.” 

A United Utilities spokesman said: "We do have a temporary work access bridge in the vicinity that the councillor is referring to in order to undertake improvements to our sewer network.

This work will help reduce the risk of flooding from the wastewater network and also provide further capacity for future development.

"It is work consented by the Environment Agency and we, like the Environment Agency, believe that this access bridge did not cause water levels upstream to increase.

“We will continue to work closely with officials from Wirral Council and representatives from the Agency to look at what more can be done to minimise the risk of this area being so seriously affected by flood waters in the future.”