Hereford & Worcester

Drivers 'ignoring flood closure signs' on Pershore Bridge

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Media captionJenny Robinson talks to the BBC's Giles Latcham about flooding of her home in Kempsey, Worcestershire

Motorists driving through flood water on a Worcestershire bridge are creating more problems for at-risk homes, say residents.

Trudy Burge said drivers ignoring closure signs on Pershore Bridge were "sending huge waves of water everywhere", affecting flood defences.

She saw vehicles drive on the bridge as she helped bail water from a garden.

Two schools were closed in Worcestershire as a result of flooding.

Mrs Burge said five vehicles drove on the flooded bridge within 15 minutes and the engines of a van and lorry cut out because of the high water.

"I've seen a tractor and other vehicles going at a rate of knots," she said.

"People are risking their own lives and risking the emergency services. They are also showing no consideration for people whose homes are at risk of flooding."

She said the home in Bridge Street with the flooded garden was badly flooded in 2007 and took months to refurbish.

Image caption Motorists have been criticised for ignoring closure signs on Pershore Bridge

"Thankfully they have so far managed to avoid it flooding this time and the Environment Agency has come out with a pump," she said.

Sgt Matt Hooley, from West Mercia Police, said those attempting to drive through the closure were "completely irresponsible and inconsiderate".

Mr Hooley said: "Dozens of people have had to be rescued by emergency services this weekend after getting stranded in flooded and closed roads.

"Drivers of larger vehicles... are re-flooding nearby homes from the bow wave as they pass.

"They also need to consider hidden dangers, such as collapsed roads, lifted manhole covers or other debris.

"The river levels are predicted to drop as this week progresses and motorists need to be patient and plan ahead."

Flood warnings

Meanwhile, villages including Eckington and Fladbury are partially cut off as a result of bridge closures in Worcestershire.

Prince Henry's High School in Evesham was closed because of flooding in the area and Sedgeberrow CE First School in the town was shut because the road to it became impassable, the county council said.

Flood warnings are still in force for stretches of the Avon, Teme and Severn in Worcestershire and the Wye in Herefordshire.

The flood barriers are up on Worcester's Hylton Road and the fire service has advised drivers to allow extra time for journeys and not to drive through floodwater.

Pitchcroft car park in Worcester is closed, while car parks at Newport Street, Croft Road and Cattle Market were partly flooded but remain open.

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Media captionHomes in Evesham were put on flood warning as the River Avon broke its banks

But the Environment Agency has reduced the number of flood warnings for the Midlands to about 80 from more than 150 earlier.

About 30 homes in Kempsey were evacuated on Sunday morning when £1.7m water pumps failed. The Environment Agency said an engineer was stationed at the pumps overnight to activate the system manually.

The flood alleviation scheme, which includes pumps and an earth embankment, opened in the summer and aims to stop floodwater from the River Severn backing up in a brook which leads into Kempsey.

The Met Office said rain was expected to fall in the West Midlands on Monday evening, particularly in the northern counties, but less than 10mm was expected.

The rest of the week is expected to be drier with lower than average temperatures.

BBC Inside Out featuring the flooding situation can be watched on the iPlayer until 3 December.

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