Flood surgery said ‘things will get worse’ in Sidmouth

Sidmouth residents “felt like somebody cares” after a consultation held to canvas their views on flood prevention strategy this week- even though experts warned that “things are forecast to get worse”.

Representatives from East Devon District Council, Devon County Council and the Environment Agency held a public session at Stowford Community Centre on Wednesday.

They sought to hear from those affected by the flooding of July 7, to conduct a report into how their services and responses could be improved.

Dr and Mrs Gordon, from Primley Mead, whose home was threatened by overflowing drains, said the opportunity to talk to the experts made them “feel like somebody cares”.

Iain Baines, a flood risk manager with the Environment Agency, said: “Following the investigation and the input we have from the public we can try to make conclusions about what actions are appropriate.

“It’s a chance to make a difference and reduce the risk”,

However, he warned that “in the future there will be more events like this” as “things are forecast to get worse with climate change.”

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His colleague, Andrew Woodhead, recovery project manager, agreed that the next flooding event was “inevitable”.

“It’s just about being prepared,” he said.

The agencies agreed that Sidmouth’s physical flood defences performed well when the River Sid rose to a 15-year high- but they said that public education and preparedness could be improved.

Members of the public are encouraged sign up for the Environment Agency’s flood alert service and to prepare their own “flood kit” of essentials for when disaster strikes.

Devon County Council Flood Risk Officer, Matt Beddow, said the event had been a “really useful” opportunity for the council to learn from the public.

The authorities will be publishing a report into their responses to the flooding of July 7 in the future.

To sign up for the Environment Agency’s flood alerts and to prepare a “flood kit” go to www.environment-agency.gov.uk/homeandleisure/floods

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