MP holds meeting at Braunton Marshes following high tides and flooding
- Credit: PHJ
A meeting has been held on Braunton Marshes to discuss future plans to protect the area following recent flooding.
The gathering was convened by North Devon MP Peter Heaton-Jones and was prompted by high tides driven by strong winds overtopping the inner bank at Horsey Island.
The meeting included the Environment Agency, the Drainage Board and the Marsh Inspectors, plus local councillor and Drainage Board chairman Cllr Jasmine Chesters, and Braunton Flood Warden, Ben Byrom.
Mr Heaton-Jones said the high tides had clearly caused concern in the community and he wanted to see the situation for himself and talk to those involved.
He said: "The overall message that came across was last week's incidents, although worrying, were not as serious as first thought.
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"In particular, I have been assured that even if the breach of the bank had been worse, there is no question of this causing a flood risk to Braunton village itself. I think it's important the community is reassured of this true position first and foremost.
"There has been significant investment in flood prevention measures in the village, where the principal risk is from the river rather than from any over-topping of the defensive banks on the marshes.
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"However, there are environmental concerns around the effects of salt water inundating the marshes, which could happen if the banks ever suffer a more serious breach."
Mr Heaton-Jones has asked for another meeting of the agencies involved.
He said: "I want to ensure that everyone works together so that we have a sustainable plan for the long term management and protection of the marshes which are such an important and much-loved part of the local landscape."
There were fears for the future of the freshwater meadowland at Horsey Island when the recent extreme high tides breached the inner Great Bank and flooded on to the toll road at Velator.
The Environment Agency has said the village itself would not be at risk of flooding from the breach, even if the bank itself was to fail.
The reclaimed land was under threat when the outer bank of the Horsey Island defences on the estuary side was overwhelmed in late 2017 and again in January 2018.