A LONG-established grain drier maker is hoping to help farmers protect their homes and livelihoods from floods with the introduction of a new high-tech alternative to the sandbag.

JW Installations UK Ltd diversified into the flood defence market after the company’s own premises were flooded twice last year.

Charles White, company director, said: “The constant heavy rain over a number of days caused ground water to rise and nearby streams to overflow. Within the space of an hour we were kneedeep in water and lifting everything we could off the floor to try to limit the damage.

“We suffered substantial damage to specialist machinery in our fabrication workshop, had to carry out extensive refurbishment and repairs and lost days in downtime cleaning up the mess.”

As a result the company, which is based at North Cowton, near Northallerton, looked to see how they could protect themselves from future floods.

It led them to establishing a working relationship with the manufacturer of a new flood protection product for the agricultural market.

The Agricultural Flood Snake is a modern version of the traditional sandbag. It’s made up of pads of super absorbent polymer (SAP) wrapped in a woven fabric. Each snake can absorb up to 20 litres of water in less than three minutes.

The three section structure means they can be stacked or folded into position and they are supple enough to fit snugly into openings and door wells to help restrict flood damage.

The snakes retain their weight for up to three months and the contents are eco-friendly and degradable so they do not harm the environment.

Mr White said: “Coming from a farming background ourselves and working in the grain industry we felt the Agricultural Flood Snake was an essential flood prevention and protection tool for farmers. Harvested grain is a farmer’s livelihood, the last thing you want is to have it ruined by floods while in storage.

“The snakes can be used as a barrier around grain stores to help divert flood waters. It can protect expensive farm machinery in the same way, help prevent excess water getting into slurry pits or contain leaks from slurry pits.”

Mr White has formed JW Flood Protection Products to sell the Agricultural Flood Snake which he showed at to the UK’s largest agricultural show, LAMMA held at Newark Showground on January 16 and 17.

He said: “We had a great deal of interest from visitors to the show.

They were keen to see the benefits this product offers over the traditional sandbag as well as its versatility. As a result we’ve had a range of enquiries from individual home owners, through to water pump manufacturers and flood defence initiatives.

“The snake is an effective and quick to deploy flood defence helping people avoid the distress and cost flooding can cause.”

For more information, visit jwfpp.co.uk or call 01325-378008.