Work to start on Braunton flood defence improvements
12:25 09 September 2013
Environment Agency to bolster £1.2m scheme swamped during December floods.
WORK to bolster flood defences in Braunton will begin next week.
The Environment Agency (EA) is funding a £100,000 scheme to protect the village after a £1.2million system was overcome twice in 24 hours in December last year.
The defences in Chalenors Road and at Hordens Bridge were only unveiled in June that year but were swamped when the River Caen burst its banks.
Businesses in Caen Street were left under several feet of water and between 20 and 30 houses in the village were evacuated.
Jim Faux of the EA said the original scheme was built to protect against a 1:100 year event.
“Amazingly, even this wasn’t enough to contain the exceptionally high flows in the River Caen in 2012,” he said.
“Put simply – the sheer volume of water coming down the river was more than our scheme was designed to take.”
The December 2012 floods resulted from some of the highest flows ever recorded in the River Caen. The last time flows were as high was in 1894.
Over the next month, the EA will be upgrading Braunton’s flood defences through a series of improvements.
The main work will take place in the Memorial Gardens where approximately 100 metres of embankment will be raised.
Various sections of riverside walls will also be raised downstream of the gardens to keep as much water as possible within the river channel.
Mr Faux said the culvert around Hordens Bridge helped convey water downstream during high flows and was an important part of the existing scheme.
He said: “It performed well during 2012 and should continue to help reduce the risk of flooding in the future along with the latest improvements we’re making to the Braunton scheme.”
Work will start on Monday, September 16 and should be completed by the end of October.