Yes we are all now very much aware the end of 2013 and the start of 2014 was the wettest since records began and down here in the South West we were affected more so than anywhere else in the country. We were front page news for all the wrong reasons but it did bring the threat of flooding to the front of everyone's minds too.
Luckily for Tiverton we were spared serious flooding this year but not the damage. No room for complacency then, just think back to the 23rd December 2012. The River Exe rose to it's highest ever level, the River Lowman joined in and Mountbatten Road was one of many roads in Tiverton which flooded damaging homes and businesses for many months. This prompted Tiverton Town Council to act and to incorporate flood resilience with our winter contingency plans and was further motivated when due to budget restraints the District Council announced it was withdrawing its sandbag service to residents.
So Spring is here and we can all forget about it, quite the contrary! now is the time to put together detailed plans for next year or dread we think it, a very wet summer.
This time though we have some powerful new friends.
The Environment Agency, the Blue Light Services and Devon County Council have stepped in to help and guide us in setting up a Community Flood Plan (CFP) for Tiverton and this is where you 'don your wellies' and step in.
An inaugural meeting was recently held at the New Hall in Tiverton allowing the partner services to explain what and how a CFP is set up. Now we intend putting some more detailed facts together and we want your ideas on what needs to be done to protect the town.
You have that vital local knowledge about what sort of flooding has happened in the past and where. we can't take this community flood plan forward without your vital help and support so please help us.
If you want an example of good practice, look no further than Dawlish and the railway line collapse. In that instance it was Dawlish Town Council who co-ordinated the help which flooded in. (sorry that phrase just had to pop up somewhere)
A further meeting is going to be held in Tiverton Town Hall on Tuesday, April 29th and anyone interested in finding out more about the CFP or sign up as a local volunteer is welcome to attend and share their views.