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Flood report reveals bid to better understand River Sid

PUBLISHED: 07:08 19 December 2012

PIC: IAN WILLIAMS 07/07/2012 View of the picturesque Byes in Sidmouth, in July which has became completely submerged by water following torrential rain and floods. ----------------------------------------------------

PIC: IAN WILLIAMS 07/07/2012 View of the picturesque Byes in Sidmouth, in July which has became completely submerged by water following torrential rain and floods. ----------------------------------------------------

© Ian Williams

A DOSSIER on wet wild weather that bought the Sid Valley to a summer standstill has sparked a bid to better understand the risks posed by its river.

Concerns over a proposed business park at Sidford and new housing in Woolbrook also feature in Devon County Council’s (DCC) Flood Investigation Report into the events of July 7.

The chaos was caused by a combination of main river, ordinary water courses and surface water run-off, the investigation concludes.

The findings could be used to help form the basis of a funding bid to the Government for a share of a £5million kitty (see story on page 4).

The authority has been working with the Environment Agency (EA), South West Water and the district council with information gathered from a ‘drop in’ surgery and discussions with residents.

The report describes how flooding occurred between 5am and 8am on July 7 with witness saying that the river levels rose and fell very quickly.

Eight properties in the valley suffered internal flooding.

Landslips, impassable highways and homes being threatened by water all occurred in Sidmouth, Sidford and Sidbury.

In Sidmouth, the report says there was ‘no evidence’ to suggest the gates of the ford or any defences from Byes Weir downstream were overtopped.

It adds that riverside properties were flooded by an overflowing sewer.

A main issue in the Woolbrook Road area was the effect of new housing and the conveyance of flows beneath the highway.

In Sidford, concerns were raised over the proposed development of a new business park.

However, the document says the EA had good working relationships with the district and county councils and was ‘happy’ planners are following advice given on flooding and development issues.

Three properties were affected in Sidbury with two flooded internally.

Recommendations include highways staff inspect drainage systems, clear blockages and carry out routine maintenance.

The EA wants to develop an understanding of fluvial flood risk in the area – and will develop a 2D river model.

Around 600 tonnes of gravel is being removed from the Sid among blockages or restrictions of the watercourse downstream of the Byes.

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