A COMPANY boss in South Tyneside says he is “frustrated” his firm is not being allowed to help tackle flooding misery locally – while outside firms are awarded similar contracts.
Watergate Flood Solutions has already fitted about 40 barriers to private homes and businesses across the borough, to reduce the risk of flooding.
But the Hebburn-based firm cannot secure work through South Tyneside Council because it has not acquired a UK safety kite mark.
Ironically, the firm has already fitted an anti-flood barrier at the Zeera restaurant in Ocean Road, South Shields, where a huge £2.63m flood defence plan is set to be launched.
Gerard Hiscock, a spokesman for Watergate Flood Solutions, which works in partnership with AH Engineering, Hebburn, said: “This is not a mission against South Tyneside Council, but it’s highly frustrating when I see companies from outside the area being awarded contracts for anti-flooding devices, when our company can supply the same, and all at competitive prices.
“We have tried to offer our products to South Tyneside Council, but they are unable to use them, as they do not have British Standard accreditation.
“We are presently working towards this, and should hopefully have the kite mark by early next year, but in the meantime, householders continue to be at risk.
“Our products are manufactured locally and are competitively priced.
“We already have a presence in Ocean Road, where we fitted flood barriers to the Zeera restaurant.
“As I say, this is not about getting at the council, but it is highly frustrating.”
Thanks to planned investment of £25,000, Watergate Flood Solutions hopes to boost its staff to 10 next year.
A spokesman for South Tyneside Council said: “We are committed to using local companies wherever possible, and have already helped more than 100 businesses to help them bid for public sector contracts through our Supply South Tyneside initiative.
“Since last year’s floods, we have put in place a range of short and long-term flood risk measures across the borough, including a £250,000 investment in protection for 50 homes in Jarrow.
“Our funders have a clear requirement that flood risk products must meet a specified kite mark standard to ensure that they have been fully tested.
“Once the company has the necessary kite mark quality standard, the council would be happy to review its products further.”
For details, contact Watergate Flood Solutions on 427 5110.