The combination of community resilience and progressive flood protection have always played an important role for Geodesign Barriers. In Oxfordshire, the town of Witney has often grappled with flood challenges and when it equipped residents with the temporary Geodesign Barrier, this caused for a special training event. The provision of this 0.65m high barrier was supported by both Oxfordshire County Council and Witney District Council and meant the residents will now benefit from a quick and efficient response when facing imminent flood warnings.
The notable aspect of the barrier's deployment training was the attendance of the then sitting Prime Minister, David Cameron who also represented Witney as their Member of Parliament. Committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of his constituents, Cameron made it a point to be present during this pivotal training.
The then Prime Minister David Cameron actively engages with the Geodesign Barrier, applying a sealer clip to secure the poly membrane during his visit to Witney, while stressing the importance of hands-on community involvement in flood prevention.
Throughout the event, Cameron engaged thoroughly with Britt Warg, the UK Manager for Geodesign Barriers, the local residents and Council representatives. With keen curiosity, he explored the barrier's functionalities and as he participated by applying a sealer clip, he drew a light-hearted comparison to the assembly of a Meccano set.
The Geodesign Barriers are often used when traditional flood mitigation methods face delays due to various reasons, often financial but also aesthetic – when flood-ridden communities are faced with the alternative of a high, permanent wall. Cameron took a great interest in this forward-thinking and effective alternative and acknowledged several other locations within his constituency that could benefit from this kind of protective measure. Additionally, he was introduced to a strategic proposal by Geodesign Barriers on how these temporary barriers could play a vital role for community engagement in future flood management across the UK.
Britt Warg, Geodesign's UK Manager, shares essential insights with the then Prime Minister David Cameron on the functionality and benefits of the Geodesign Barriers, during his visit to the barrier training in Witney.
This training day emphasised the importance of community-led efforts in preparedness and response. With relevant council support and training, residents are perfectly able to both store and deploy their own temporary flood barriers as and when needed. Often, these planning and training sessions can bring people together and also have social benefits. Cameron's active involvement in this Witney training showcased the significance of proactive solutions like the Geodesign Barriers.