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Bournemouth faces flood clean-up

Clean-up and repair work is ongoing in Bournemouth today after surface water flooding overloaded highway drains, caused damage to road surfaces and washed sand and silt from cliff tops.

The clean-up operation began yesterday. Emergency road resurfacing work is underway at Pier Approach, and emergency safety works are underway in Boscombe Chine Gardens after a number of drain covers were “blown” due to the powerful water flow.

A geotechnical engineer was called to inspect cliff tops for safety, after the floods washed loose sand and silt down cliffsides in a number of places along the seafront. The cliffs were declared safe, and cleaning teams are now removing debris from the beach and promenade.

Bournemouth Borough Council executive director for environment & economy Tony Williams said: “The priority is to repair any surfaces damaged by the rainwater so that safe pedestrian access can be achieved.”

A Wessex Water spokesman said there were no operational failures of its sewers or pumping stations, but council-owned highway drains “struggled to cope” with exceptional amounts of rainfall that fell yesterday morning.

“It was a capacity issue,” said the spokesman. He said some sewer flooding occurred, but the majority of the floods were caused by surface water.

The flooding led to a number of road closures, and the closure of Boscombe Chine Gardens, which was badly flooded. Some of the worst disruption was in the town centre, with officers involved in the closure of around 20 sections of road across the town. All roads in the Bournemouth borough are now open to traffic, with some restrictions.

  • A gallery of photographs of the Bournemouth floods can be accessed at

Readers' comments (2)

  • Robert M J Millar

    Sorry to be picky, but why would you send a Structural Engineer to inspect cliff. Surely you would ask a Geotechnical Specialist to assess such a situation?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Hi Robert, thank you for your comment. The council originally told NCE that a structural engineer had been called, but on second asking they said it had indeed been a geotechnical engineer. The story has been updated to reflect this revision.

  • I wonder if Bournemouth has only highway engineers left now after the cuts? As many LAs have.
    A lot of drainage engineers have been moved on and in some LAs in Yorkshire even structural engineers are taking over drainage responsibilities, so maybe a structural engineer can do everything?

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