Residents urged to take flood precautions

A flood prevention exhibition was held at The Institute. Councillors, fire sevice and the police wer

A flood prevention exhibition was held at The Institute. Councillors, fire sevice and the police were some of the exhibitors who were on hand to provide locals with flood prevention information. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref sho 5163-41-13AW - Credit: Archant

OTTERY has been designated as one of just 15 towns in the county where flood waters pose a ‘serious risk to life’.

Hundreds of homes in and around the town are under threat from future flooding and residents were urged to take the necessary precautions at an exhibition this week.

The flood preparedness event organised by the town council featured stalls from the fire and rescue service, plus the Environment Agency and county council were on hand to offer expert advice on how to cope in a flood emergency.

Town councillor Martin Thurgood said that he helped organise the meeting to make sure that residents were aware of the little things they could do to be prepared.

He added: “Devon County Council has identified Ottery as one of 15 towns in the county where floods pose a serious risk to life.

“Potentially, 500 homes are under threat in the town, and it’s not just areas directly around the River Otter that are at risk – West Hill and East Hill are just as much at risk from surface water flooding after heavy rain.”

“We have got to face up to the problem – it’s no good just burying our heads in the sand, especially if the sand is under 2ft of water.”

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Ottery has seen two major flood defence works installed in Chapel Lane near the Thorne Farm estate, but Bryn Williams, project manager behind the Environment Agency works, said there was only so much they could do.

“Unfortunately, we can’t completely prevent flooding – our work is mainly about mitigating the effects when it does happen.”

“I think Ottery is well covered in terms of flood defence now, but there is only so much work we can do with our limited resources.”

“We’re now focussing on town and community projects like this one, and we rely on people’s support.”

The exhibition also provided the opportunity for the town council to inform people about a proposed ‘flood marshal’ scheme.

Cllr Thurgood added: “We’ve had a good response so far – and we’re just looking for people to express an interest at this point – we’re not asking for anyone to sign on the dotted line.”

Residents who are interested in volunteering as a marshal are asked to contact the council office for more information.