Several communities across Devon and Cornwall are set to benefit from a series of local flood defence schemes over the coming year.
At a meeting in Exeter on Wednesday, January 12, the South West Regional Flood Defence Committee agreed a Local Levy of £546,242 for the coming financial year – a 10 per cent increase on the level of funding for 2010/11. This compares to £496,584 last year.
The Local Levy is additional funding raised through local county councils and unitary authorities. The money enables the Environment Agency, through the flood defence committee, to implement locally important schemes that are not eligible for national funding.
Several communities at risk of flooding are benefiting from the money, which is being used to build flood alleviation schemes and increase home flood resilience measures. The coming year’s programme will reflect on improved local resilience and defence improvements, including banks and walls to protect properties.
In 2010/11 Local Levy money is being used to pay for construction works at Ringmore, Combe Martin, Plympton, Newton Poppleford, Tipton St John, Polperro and Canworthy Water.
Communities to benefit from future funding include Braunton, Chyandour (Penzance), Kings Ash at Paignton, and Whimple.
Major contributors to the Local Levy are Devon County Council, Cornwall Council, Plymouth and Torbay Unitary Authorities with smaller contributions from Somerset and Dorset County Councils.
The Newton Poppleford flood improvements scheme is progressing well with construction due to commence in January 2011 and expected to take six weeks to complete.
Works to the new screen at Ide have been completed with a diversion channel which will allow flood flows to continue through the small culvert.
Environment Agency workers have started to raise the existing defences and footbridge at Tipton St John and at Combe Martin designed a small pumping installation to deal with water getting trapped behind the flood defences and flooding properties.
During the recent Cornwall floods in November, the Canworthy Water flood defences constructed on the Trebreak Stream were tested and proven to work well. It is likely given the level of the flood water the old defences would have been overtopped and properties would have been flooded.
The Environment Agency also completed a £350,000 project to build additional quay walls and to re-engineer the 30-year-old harbour gate at Polperro to improve the standard of tidal flood defences. The hydraulically operated tidal gate is capable of protecting the harbour from extreme high tides and also provides a much safer system of operation for the local operators.
‘We are pleased that local authorities can provide this vital money because it can be used to fund smaller schemes that do not qualify for national funding and thereby benefit local communities,’ said James Morrish, chairman of the South West Regional Flood Defence Committee.
‘We are doing everything we can to help our local communities protect their families, homes and businesses. We can’t prevent flooding altogether, but we can help people to minimise flood risk or damage caused by flooding.’
(from a press release)