Video: Parishes told to prepare flood plans at seminar

The flooding in Braunton in December last year. Pic: Tony Howells.

The flooding in Braunton in December last year. Pic: Tony Howells. - Credit: Archant

Flooding seminar at Filleigh follows extensive flooding in North Devon in December last year.

The flooding seminar in Filleigh today (Fri).

The flooding seminar in Filleigh today (Fri). - Credit: Archant

North Devon parishes must prepare for flooding and lobby for more funding for the government, a flood seminar has concluded.

The flooding seminar in Filleigh today (Fri).

The flooding seminar in Filleigh today (Fri). - Credit: Archant

Representatives from local councils; the Environment Agency; emergency services and members of the public met in Filleigh Village Hall today (Fri).

The key message from speakers at the meeting was that action plans should be made up on a local level to prepare for any future flooding.

Last year in December, areas such as Braunton were hit by a deluge of muddy water, with dozens of people across North Devon evacuated from their homes.

Martin Hutchings, flood risk manager for Devon County Council, said work was being done to look at the drainage problems in the village.


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Andrew Woodhead, of the Environment Agency, also spoke at the seminar.

He said: “We have found out a lot of information since the event which led us to believe we could improve the standard of the defence, though it is taking some tweaking.”

But villages such as Bishops Tawton feel they had been left behind after the parish council sent a 330-page draft flood plan to the Environment Agency to no response.

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Chris Verney, representing the parish council at the seminar, said: “All we got was a one page letter saying you’d attend to matters.

“When all the water runs off the streams it comes straight into the River Taw at Bishops Tawton.

“The Taw is full of silt – a major programme is required regarding the drainage of water out to the sea.

“The Taw hasn’t been dredged for 20 years and before it stopped there was no where near this much flooding.”

Both the Environment Agency and Devon County Council said they were doing what they could with the money they had but major works would need extra funding.

Representatives from the police and fire service also spoke at the seminar.

Barnstaple fire station manager David Hastie reminded people not to drive through floodwater and to only dial 999 when there was a risk to life.

Pete Sarney, police sector inspector for Barnstaple, reiterated the importance of areas coming up with their own flood plans and enlisting local volunteers.

“Local knowledge is key when we arrive at the scene,” he said.

The meeting concluded with talks from the Woodland and Water Trust on how trees can help slow down the effects of flooding, the North Devon Biosphere, and the Exmoor Mires-on-the-Moors Project.

VIDEO: Watch the Environment Agency’s video on how to prepare a CLEAR plan for flooding above.

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