‘Be prepared’: Sidmouth’s flash flood risk highlighted

Flooded road opposite the Boyd in Sidmouth. Photo by Terry Ife. Ref shs 0946-04-14TI

Flooded road opposite the Boyd in Sidmouth. Photo by Terry Ife. Ref shs 0946-04-14TI - Credit: Archant

The risk of flash flooding in Sidmouth has seen civic leaders urge residents to be ‘pro-active’ and stock up on flood defences.

The town is one of 52 areas in the South West at risk, according to the Environment Agency (EA).

As part of its emergency plan, Sidmouth Town Council will provide householders with sand bags and a voucher for sand that can be used at Wyevale’s Sidmouth garden centre.

Town clerk Christopher Holland said: “You cannot stop it raining. Flash flooding occurs 99 per cent of the time by a phenomenal amount of rain in a short space of time and the drains cannot handle it. Once you start seeing water, it’s too late. It will always find a way in. There is a high degree of personal responsibility. You cannot just rely on the authorities.”

Ottery St Mary, Beer, Budleigh Salterton, East Budleigh, Honiton and Colyford were also named among areas at risk.

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An EA spokesman said: “Flash flooding can be very destructive and dangerous. It has the power to flood homes, carry away vehicles and damage buildings, walls and bridges. It can even move rocks and uproot trees.

“It is very hard to predict when and where instances might occur. As flash flooding is so rapid and intense, people may need to take independent action before the emergency services arrive. Although flash flooding is rare, it’s important to be prepared.”

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Residents can normally call into the town council offices at Woolcombe House between 9am and 1pm to collect their free sandbags. However, the offices will be closed from 1pm today (Wednesday, December 23) for Christmas and will reopen on Monday, January 4.

Mr Holland said that residents should contact East Devon District Council or Devon County Council if an emergency occurrs during the festive break.

For further advice, visit https://www.gov.uk/prepare-for-a-flood, or call Floodline on 0345 988 1188.

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