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Flood defences in line for improvement

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: September 12, 2013

FLOODED OUT: Braunton under water in December 2012.  Picture: Rob Tibbles Ref: BNMRT20121222D-027_C  Rob Tibbles

FLOODED OUT: Braunton under water in December 2012. Picture: Rob Tibbles Ref: BNMRT20121222D-027_C Rob Tibbles

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A FURTHER £100,000 will be spent on flood defence work in Braunton this week.

The Environment Agency will start work on Monday to carry out improvements to the existing flood defences, which were installed last summer at a cost of £1.2 million.

The original scheme was designed to increase the river's capacity and protect 200 homes in the village from flood damage, as well as reducing the risk of flooding from a one in 20 chance in any one year, to a one in 100 chance.

However, many people criticised the scheme after the village was hit by severe floods in December last year, just six months after the original scheme was completed.

Jim Faux, from the Environment Agency, said: "We built a scheme offering protection for a 1:100 year event.

"Amazingly, even this wasn't enough to contain the exceptionally high flows in the River Caen in 2012.

"Put simply, the sheer volume of water coming down the river was more than our scheme was designed to take."

The improvements will see around 100 metres of the River Caen's banks raised at the point where they burst near the Memorial Gardens in Chaloners Road.

Various sections of riverside walls will also be raised downstream of the Memorial Gardens to keep as much water as possible within the river channel and provide the people of Braunton with the best available flood protection.

Braunton Parish Council chairman Elma Blackmore said the new improvements would be a step in the right direction.

She said: "It's very good news for Braunton. We can't say that it will never happen again but everybody is trying their best to ensure that it doesn't.

"A lot of hard work has gone into making these improvements and we are grateful to the Environment Agency for that."

Work will begin on Monday, and should be completed by the end of October.

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