600 tonne muddy legacy of Sidmouth floods

MORE than 600 tonnes of stones, sand and gravel were cleared from the River Sid following flash floods that left a muddy legacy.

Environment Agency (EA) staff were this week out in force using an excavator and lorries.

Crews had already removed around 200 tonnes of material from the river at Sidbury and Sidford.

They have now turned their attention to Waterloo Bridge at Sidmouth where around 400 tonnes of shingle and gravel has been deposited below the weir close to the Byes. EA chiefs say more than 20 properties were flooded in the Sid Valley over the weekend of July 6 and 7.

“You wouldn’t normally expect this amount of material to be washed down the Sid Valley in such a short period of time. It is important these deposits are removed because they reduce the river’s capacity and can increase the risk of flooding,” said the EA’s Andrew Woodhead.

Ottery St Mary escaped serious property flooding thanks to improved flood defences in the town.

However, several roads were flooded by surface water and this did cause some disruption, according to the EA.

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The sheer volume of water flowing off surrounding roads and land washed hundreds of tonnes of gravel, sand and stone into rivers.

Wherever possible, the recovered material will be recycled and supplied to local landowners to repair farm tracks.

Any remaining stone and gravel will be sent for reprocessing. The clear-up works in East Devon are likely to continue into September.