FLOOD gates have been installed at either end of the B3106 between Holt and Staverton to prevent reckless drivers going through when the road is flooded.

The aim is to stop those drivers who have got stuck in flood waters from the nearby River Avon after ignoring warning signs not to use the road when it is heavily flooded.

The gates have been installed after senior managers from Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service and local councillors demanded change to stop reckless drivers from wasting the emergency service crews’ time and putting their lives at risk.

Time and again over the past three years, drivers routinely ignored the flashing flood warning signs or skirted round the cones placed there.

Rescue crews were then being called out to go into the fast-flowing flood waters to rescue panicking drivers who had been foolish enough to try their luck and had got stuck when their vehicle engines were overwhelmed.

Cllr Trevor Carbin, the Wiltshire Council ward member for Holt and Staverton, said: “We are very pleased the gates have been installed. The road was closed for three days in September to enable them to put them in.

“It has been a bit of a struggle and has taken three years. If it makes life easier for the fire and rescue service then it will have been worthwhile because they won’t have to go in and rescue people from the flood waters.”

Cllr Carbin says that since 2004 DWFRS have carried out 22 operations. Thirty people, including children, have been rescued from the floods and more than 20 vehicles recovered.

DWFRS watch manager Neil Hiscock said: "This is good news for public safety in having these gates that can be closed when this road becomes flooded.

"One of our retired sub-officers Richard Drew campaigned for these gates 20 or so years ago.

"Many motorists over the years have ignored flood warning signs and became stuck in the floods, a threat not only to their safety but also to the emergency services who have been tasked to attend these incidents.”

Mr Hiscock recalls having to rescue a pregnant woman through sun roof when she was trapped in the floods.

The gates have been installed by Wiltshire Council and have cost £12,000. The council’s two area boards for Bradford on Avon and Trowbridge, along with the Environment Agency, paid for their installation. It is also understood that DWFRS made a contribution.

The original plan had been to install a third floodgate on The Causeway but this was abandoned after experts said the road did not flood enough to warrant the expense.