The worst of the recent flooding may have abated, but for those on low-lying land water is always a worry. The traditional way of diverting floodwater is by piling up sandbags, but now there’s a handier and more high-tech alternative.

It’s called the Agricultural Flood Snake and is being marketed by JW Flood Protection Products, a new offshoot of long-established Northallerton grain dryer maker Allmet.

In fact, the launch of the new product came about because the company’s own premises were flooded last year.

“We were flooded on two occasions last year,” says company director Charles White. “The constant heavy rainfall over a number of days caused groundwater to rise and the nearby streams to overflow. Within the space of an hour we were knee-deep 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.”

The Agricultural Flood Snake is a modern version of the traditional sandbag. It is made up of 145x25cm pads of super-absorbent polymer 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 that you can stack or fold the snakes into position and they are supple enough to fit snugly into openings and doorwells to help restrict flood damage. The snakes retain their weight for up to three months and the contents are eco-friendly and degradable so don’t harm the environment,” says Mr White.

The snakes can be used as a barrier around grain stores to help divert floodwaters, as protection around expensive farm machinery and to help prevent water getting into slurry pits, without any harmful effects.

Once used the contents can simply be spread on top of the soil. Cost for a box of 24 flood snakes is £145 plus VAT.

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