It’s not going to reverse climate change and it won’t stop your house flooding – not yet anyway. But Malcolm Baxter, inventor of the floating doorstep, claims his product will create an airtight seal that prevents water getting in your front door.
He claims it’s straightforward to set up. The base section is set into the ground, allowing the top section – the step – to float. Between the two sections is a concertina-like bag that fills with water in the event of a flood, providing a metre-high barrier across the doorway – any higher and the pressure could make the house’s walls cave in.
Baxter says he’s spent a ‘small fortune’ on patents, though the product is unproven. He adds most of the companies he’s approached so far have given him the cold shoulder, though he has attracted interest from piping system manufacturer Polypipe, whose product manager for sustainability is trying to put a consortium of investors together.
Meanwhile, Baxter’s working on another invention: the Floodstacker (see illustration).
This is a barrier that fills with water and, by means of a vacuum, lifts or “stacks” the floodwater above the surrounding water.
His inventions might seem far-fetched, but as Baxter points out, existing flood defenses aren’t doing a great job, as anyone who was living in Gloucestershire last year will testify.