Seaton residents meet key organisations to explore flood prevention measures

The Seaton Flood Working Group meeting

The Seaton Flood Working Group meeting - Credit: Seaton Flood Working Group

Seaton residents whose properties were severely flooded last October came out in force for a public meeting last week to hear what is being done to prepare for, and prevent, similar incidents. 

The Seaton Flood Working Group organised the meeting on Tuesday, April 26 and arranged for representatives of Devon County Council, South West Water and the Environment Agency to attend. 

County councillor Marcus Hartnell, who lives in Seaton and represents Seaton and Colyton, said the council is working to increase public understanding of flood risk in Devon and improve preparation and resilience. This includes providing sandbags and safe refuges for people whose homes have flooded. He said the risk of surface water flooding in Seaton is currently being assessed by consultants. The Flood Working Group suggested that some of its members could meet the consultants to share their own data about the natural watercourses that tend to overflow during heavy rainfall. 

South West Water was represented by Ben Harman, Marcus Ward and Dr James Fullerton.  They urged residents to be aware of the possible signs of problems with the sewers, such as toilets not flushing properly, so that they can be investigated early; even if the problem involves a private drain the company will often help, as a gesture of goodwill. Marcus Ward also asked Devon County Council to use early flood warning systems to alert communities to the possibility of flooding.  

The Environment Agency representative, Kate Pearson, said the agency encourages the use of nature-based solutions that decrease the chance of flooding, such as trees and hedges that absorb water, intercept rainfall and slow run-off. Her colleague Ian Hooper suggested that Seaton could use similar measures to those being introduced in the river Culm catchment area to reduce flood risk, such as upstream ‘water storage’ areas.  

The meeting discussed the possibility of setting up a network of local responders to flooding incidents, and those who attended were asked to encourage neighbours and friends to report all incidents to the Environment Agency so that it can improve its flood mapping and modelling, and investigate ‘environmental incidents’ such as mud on the roads and in floodwater. The Seaton Flood Working Group can provide leaflets with information on contact details.