Flooding in Dartmouth!

edited January 13 in Rivers and seas

Flooding in 2014 (Image from You Tube)

Below is an email exchange I had with Mike Pearey who chairs the Dart Estuary Forum:

"Dear Mike,

A member of the Dart Valley U3A Climate Change Group, which I convene, recently raised the issue of the anticipated rise in sea-levels as a result of global warming. The dangers of serious flooding is of particular interest to residents of Dartmouth and so I am writing to ask what research has been done on the matter and, assuming flooding will become an important matter in the future, what consideration is being given to protect the low-lying areas of the town.

I thought you might be the person to approach on this subject. Do you have any information on this, or can you point me to any? If you can help I’d be most grateful.

Steve Smith"

His reply:

"Hi Steve,

while at both the Dart Harbour Community Group and the Dart Estuary Forum we do discuss in broad terms the potential for increased flooding due to sea level rise, increasing rainfall intensity and amounts (Feb 2020!) and increasingly strong wind events, it is for the Dartmouth Town Council to lead on their community resilience to address such concerns. If this has not yet been placed on a Dartmouth Town Council meeting agenda, then I suggest that is the first step. 

 It is always worth contacting the local Environment Agency staff to discuss this. Nigel - is Rob Price the best person. If so, can you send Steve his email address? Totnes Town Council may also have useful advice.

 Whilst not wishing to appear flippant the only real long term solution to sea level rise would be a Dart Estuary barrier, but in the meantime those with properties potentially liable to flooding ought to be taking steps to increase resilience against sea water ingress (no materials susceptible to water damage on the ground floor; raise all electric sockets higher up internal walls, etc..). I know some residents are already doing this.

 Hope this helps!

 Mike"

I later (9th March 2020) sent this to Rob Price of the Environment Agency:

"Dear Rob Price,

A member of the Dart Valley U3A Climate Change Group, which I convene, recently raised the issue of the anticipated rise in sea-levels as a result of global warming. The dangers of serious flooding is of particular interest to residents of Dartmouth and so I am writing to ask what research has been done on the matter and, assuming flooding will become an important matter in the future, what consideration is being given to protect the low-lying areas of the town?

I put the above question to Mike Pearey, who re-directed it to Nigel Mortimer, who in turn, suggested that you “would be a very good place to start.”  Hence this email.

I quote Mike’s reply to my question below. I would be interested to know if you have anything further to add.

I will also put the question to Dartmouth Town Council.

With regards, Steve Smith"

I have also sent an email to Dartmouth Town Council asking what long-term plans they have for raised sea-levels and flooding.

I await responses from both.


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Comments

  • Thanks Steve for following this up. This seems a bit of buck passing to me. Interested to see if Dartmouth Town Council will respond. Peter

  • I eventually had a reply (26/3/2020) from Rob Price of the Devon, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Environment Agency. He apologises for the delay in checking his junk folder, and has forwarded my enquiry to his Enquiry Team. He says to expect another delay, due to Coronavirus. I'll make sure it doesn't get completely forgotten.

  • 9th April 2020 - I have had a detailed reply from the Devon, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Environment Agency, which I quote in full below, in response to my above email:

    "Dear Steve,

     Thank you for your email dated 09/03/2020.

     Your enquiry falls into 2 parts:

    1.     What research has been done?

     The Environment Agency completed a tidal flood risk modelling update for Dartmouth in 2017 which included updating wave and tidal information which was produced to improve our flood warning procedures. This will help the community better understand the risks they face now and in the future, and to help them work with partners such as South Hams and West Devon Council and ourselves to see if there are any works that can be done to mitigate the impact of these risks. This is the report and model that we will need to review in order to provide you with a better informed response once that has been completed.

     2.     What consideration is being given to protect the low lying areas of the town?

     Flood risk in Dartmouth is likely to increase with climate change, especially in the low lying areas. Residents would do well to start making their properties more flood resilient so that they are better able to recover from future flood events. However, it is likely that an initial assessment would be undertaken in Dartmouth to better understand the risk from tidal and fluvial flooding. This would also identify possible options for alleviating that flood risk, and help inform bids for the required funding. This would be undertaken in partnership with South Hams District Council as the Coastal Protection Authority.

     We are also aware that work was completed along the Victoria Stream by Devon County Council and at the gates into the Boat Float by South Hams District Council to reduce the risk to the lower parts of the town. For further information on these schemes it may be worth contacting each authority.

     Please refer to Open Government Licence which explains the permitted use of this information.

    Please get in touch if you have any further queries or contact us within two months if you would like us to review the information we have sent.

    We really value your thoughts on how we are doing and will always make changes where we can to improve our service. Please click on the link below and fill in our survey. http://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/EnvironmentAgencyCustomerSurvey/?a=DC

     Thank you

    Fiona

    Fiona Anderson - Customers and Engagement Officer

    Environment Agency | Manley House, Kestrel Way, Exeter EX2 7LQ

    Devon, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly enquiries team:

    Email : DCISEnquiries@environment-agency.gov.uk

    Phone : 020847 47914"


    I wonder if anyone in the CC Group who lives in Dartmouth, or feels involved with this particular issue, would like to take this matter forward, and make further enquiries on behalf of the Group. I suggest that this is, potentially, a pretty serious concern.

  • edited December 2020

    I've had another response, dated 13/04/2020, to my initial enquiry from the Flood Resilience Officer of the same Environment Agency Office, which outlines specific plans to engage Dartmouth residence soon in planning for floods:

    Hi Steve.

    Thank you for your email to us on 9 March.

    I am very aware of the flood risks to Dartmouth. It’s one of our key communities to work with this year.  

    I have recently been working with Cllr Case in Dartmouth to help organise a meeting of all the key stakeholders to discuss setting up a Community Emergency Plan. This will involve the Harbour, Ambulance and Fire service, Dartmouth Town Council, Devon Communities Together, Devon County Council and us.

    We then want to put on a public exhibition. As part of this event the Environment Agency would display a range of flooding information including historical photos/maps/rainfall and climate change data and information about our free flood warning service. This event would be a great opportunity for the community to meet staff from a number of organisations, exchanging information and learning from each other.

     Hopefully as soon as this COVID 19 virus is clear, we will be setting a date (probably later in Summer/early Autumn) to hold this event.

     I will discuss with my colleagues what flood alleviation measures, if any, are in the pipeline for Dartmouth and let you know asap.

     If you would like to have a chat, please let me know and I will call you.

     Best wishes and hope to talk to you very soon.

    Chris Khan

    Flood Resilience Officer

    Flood Risk Management

    Environment Agency, Manley House, Kestrel Way, Sowton, Exeter, EX2 7LQ


    It sounds as though they are "on the case"!

  • Great work Steve. I do see that Residents will have to manage some of the work themselves, the advice about moving electrical sockets etc. seems sound. My family in Cockermouth suffered 2 devastating floods..

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