After the exceptional rainfall and storms of last winter, the Environment Agency has completed a record number of repairs to flood and coastal defenses across Devon and Cornwall and is urging communities to make sure they are ready if flooding happens this year.
As well as repairing flood defenses, the Environment Agency has improved resilience to flood defenses and in some areas, created new defense systems. This work means communities are now better protected. Working around the clock with their partners and main contractor BMM (Bam Nuttall and Mott MacDonald), the Environment Agency has repaired nearly all the defenses damaged during last winter.
In Devon and Cornwall, the Environment Agency and local councils have been carrying out repair works to 218 flood and coastal risk projects. To date, 188 projects have been completed and 30 projects are on-going. Where permanent repairs are well underway but not completed, the Agency can confirm that the standard of protection to communities has been re-established by the work already done or appropriate contingency arrangements are in place to ensure that no communities are at an increased flood risk compared to the pre-winter 2013/14 situation.
£18.2 million of additional funding was allocated to complete this flood recovery work in the area. £12.7 million of that funding was allocated to 10 local councils to carry out repairs to their assets at 132 locations. The remaining £5.48 million of funding went to repair damaged Environment Agency assets at 86 locations. This work has been done by Agency field teams and contractors.
A new coastal flood defense is being built at Dawlish Warren and is on target to be completed this Christmas. The original defense was badly damaged in the winter 2013 storms and a new defense will be built further in land to provide more robust protection to Dawlish Warren village.
Cornwall Council suffered some of the most significant damage to coastal defenses in the country with losses of breakwaters and the destruction of complete lengths of coast protection structures. The council received an allocation of £9.1 million for 66 locations, including Penzance.
The flood defenses at Bude, which protect 100 properties, are now being repaired and temporary defenses have been constructed to protect the properties during construction.
The Agency has also worked with communities to develop community flood plans or incorporate flood plans within their wider emergency plan. Sidmouth, Ottery St Mary, the Long Brook Street area of Plympton and Kingsbridge are just 4 of the communities who have recently completed their emergency plans to prepare for the possibility of flash flooding.