The past instances of flash flooding and more recently the events in Boscastle have shown the neglect by the authorities to implement preventive maintenance. The pictorial evidence and media reports show clearly that bridges and other structures impede water flows by collecting debris and rubbish.
Attention to the removal of fallen trees, clearance of weed, removal of slipped banks and rubbish can only improve watercourse flows. I am familiar with a number of watercourses where no attempt has been made over the years to remove such obstacles, their only movement, if any, has been during flood conditions as they migrate downstream by the flow.
Perhaps this is a case of 'let the water do the job - it won't cost a thing', with the sea becoming the eventual disposal system.
James Kirkbright (M), Seasons Cottage, Cookswell, Shillingstone, Blandford Forum, Dorset, DT11 0QZ