WORK TO protect the infamous Cornish fishing village of Boscastle from future flash flooding begins next month.
Contractor Carillion will be carrying out a £4.6M project to lower and widen the River Valency, which passes through the village.
Boscastle suffered extensive damage two years ago when heavy rain swept up trees, mud and cars and deposited them in the Valency causing the river to burst its banks (NCE 2 September 2004).
Last week, North Cornwall District Council granted planning permission for flood defences to be built in three locations along the river (see diagram).
'The work will be a combination of excavating through bedrock to create a lower channel and raising walls, ' Environment Agency flood risk manager Gordon Trapmore told NCE.
He added that the Valency would be reshaped in some locations to slow down the flow of water during heavy rain.
The Agency is also looking at curbing vegetation growth along the Valency where flash floods could cause trees and bushes to be swept up.
The proposed work is the result of analysis of computer models, video footage and flood simulations by consultant HR Wallingford.
The work will involve raising the level of the main carpark and installing barriers to prevent vehicles being swept up during flash floods; widening and lowering the river to increase capacity to carry high flows; and rebuilding the main roadbridge in the village further downstream.
During the 2004 floods, vehicles and debris became lodged under the bridge and caused water to back up in the village.