A revolutionary new flood defence system that ingeniously ‘self closes’ has been launched in the Midlands.

The brainchild of Worcestershire firm UK Flood Barriers, the Self Closing Flood Barrier weighs less than water and automatically rises like a floating wall when water levels rise.

The award-winning design is already being used worldwide and it is currently being installed to secure the USA’s National Archives building in Washington DC, where it will protect documents including the original Declaration of Independence.

The barrier costs around half the amount of conventional flood barriers at £2 million, said Frank Kelly, research and development consultant of UK Flood Barriers in Droitwich.

He said: “It’s far more resilient and cheaper than other options as it requires virtually no maintenance.

“It can stay in the ground for up to 50 years with absolutely no human intervention and can save millions of taxpayers money.”

Mr Kelly added: “Our Self Closing Flood Barrier provides the ultimate protection to people and properties in any high-risk flood situation.

“The barrier has been used all over the world since its invention in 1996 and has a 100 per cent performance record. That’s why it was a clear choice to protect the National Archive in America.”

Installed level with the ground, the barrier works via a filling-pipe system which is instantly activated by high water levels caused by heavy rainfall, gales or melting snow.

When the system is full, the rising polyester wall locks the barrier waterproof. When waters recede, it automatically closes, drains out and remains virtually invisible.

The barrier has already received six global awards, most notably as winner of the ‘Best Civil Technical Invention in the World’ at the Salon Internationale des Inventions.

n? A spokeswoman for the Environment Agency said there were currently nine flood watches across the Midlands.

But she added it was not expecting to see any major problems in the area.

For more information go on-line to the Environment Agency’s website - updated every 15 minutes – at www.environment-agency.gov.uk