Calls for flood cash in report

PUBLISHED: 10:50 27 May 2009 | UPDATED: 09:14 18 June 2010

BETTER communication is needed before, during and after flooding disasters such as the one which devastated Ottery last year, according to a new report.

BETTER communication is needed before, during and after flooding disasters such as the one which devastated Ottery last year, according to a new report.

Recommendations, which include calling on Government to stump up more funding for victims and develop a dedicated "single strand" framework for flooding events, are included in the Flooding in Devon document, discussed by county council chiefs last week.

The report wants to see town and parish councils encouraged to play a bigger role, and develop their own emergency plans, in a multi-agency system which is labelled as "fragmented".

Hands-on Ottery town councillors, who helped stricken residents in the aftermath of October 31, have long-bemoaned their lack of official involvement and have called for "more joined up thinking" in which their local knowledge can be utilised to direct resources.

There is currently no emergency disaster plan for in place for Ottery, despite the fact the town council has been waiting to discuss the creation of one with the Environment Agency since the turn of the year.

The report also recommends the appointment of a flooding chief to take "overall executive control" when disaster strikes.

It identifies Ottery and its surrounding areas as being at "very high risk" from river flooding and states: "There appears to be a lack of information around the impact of flooding and the time taken to return to normality.

"The impact of climate change suggests that flooding will increasingly be a problem.

More than 100 people were left homeless in the Otter Valley following the "freak" events of October 31- several of whom are yet to move back into their homes.

It is hoped an eagerly awaited Government report, due out in July, will tackle land management and drainage issues which many flood-victims and town officials hold responsible for Ottery's frequent flooding problems.

In April the multi-agency South West Regional Flood Defence Committee took steps to reduce several flood risks in the area. Committee members pledged £60,000 to improve Tipton St John's Coombe Brook. It was also agreed that "main river status" be given to the brook in Thorne Farm Way, the goyle between Patteson Drive and Raleigh Road and the River Tale, meaning the Environment Agency will now take on responsibility for the troublesome watercourses.


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