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Lostwithiel floods of 2010 leave a lasting legacy

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: November 16, 2012

Lostwithiel floods of 2010 leave a lasting legacy

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NEARLY two years to the day that Lostwithiel and the surrounding areas were devastated by floodwaters, the victims say that more work still needs to be done.

On November 17, 2010, the region was battered by torrential rain and gale force winds.

It was early morning when the drama began. Business owners readying for a new day of trade awoke to the sight of rapidly rising water levels. Cars were swept away, homes evacuated and shop premises destroyed.

Two years on from that dark day questions remain about whether the towns are now better equipped to cope if a similar situation to that of 2010 was to happen again.

Charles Richards, of Par and St Blazey Flood Group, formed in the aftermath of the floods, said: "A lot of work has been done but the recovery process is still on-going with things being put into place to make the community more resilient against any future floods.

"The real legacy of the Mid-Cornwall floods is about the good things that have come about, the level of community action and engagement, the forming of flood groups with volunteers that can respond to problems and the Cornwall Community Flood Forum."

However, Barry Wilton, chairman of Mevagissey Flood Group, said despite awareness increasing, more work needs to be done.

"I think they are crying wolf at the drop of a hat to cover themselves. It's beneficial but I also don't believe the council is clearing out the drains enough in the village. Every time we get torrential rain we get them backing up and surface water. I have to go round clearing the drain covers."

Following the floods, Cornwall Council and the Environment Agency got together with local people in Lostwithiel, St Blazey and beyond to work on preventing a similar situation arising.

Included in the work was the formation of the flood groups, recruitment of flood wardens, installation of property protection to reduce the flood risk and level of damage caused by flooding, the drawing up of community flood plans and, in St Blazey, the Environment Agency now pilots a service to provide location-specific early warnings of flash flooding, share weather and flood forecasts with flood wardens, and provide automatic messages from rain and river gauges.

Paul Gainey, of the Environment Agency, said: "This really has been a partnership with everyone, including people who were flooded, working together to improve community resilience."

A programme of further improvements has been agreed between Cornwall Council and the Environment Agency including:

Improvement on the Prideaux Stream in St Blazey

In Lostwithiel, replacing 150 metres of the Tanhouse Stream culvert which was badly damaged

Improvements on the Tanhouse Stream in Lostwithiel, including improved drainage through the River Fowey flood wall in Quay Street

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