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Environment Agency working with south west authorities to boost flood defence

The Environment Agency has said it is working closely with Devon County Council and East Devon and South Hams District Councils to improve flood defences in the wake of last weekend’s floods.

Intense rainfall swept across the region causing serious flooding in parts of the South Hams and East Devon. More than 120mm of rain fell in some areas that received a month’s worth of rain in less than 12 hours. Worst affected were Axminster, Ottery St Mary, Yealmpton and Modbury.

Already representatives from the Environment Agency and local authorities have been out on joint visits to affected communities to hear first hand from residents about their experiences over the weekend, and promise better defences in the future.

On Tuesday 10 July officers from the Environment Agency, Devon County Council and East Devon District Council met with the mayor of  Axminster and town councillors to see the damage themselves and hear the accounts of flooded residents. They visited several locations in the town and promised to work with the local community to improve the standard of Axminster’s flood defences.

More than 60 homes and businesses were flooded in Axminster after the River Axe and two local streams over-topped their banks resulting in the flooding of properties at various locations in the town.

Local transport was also disrupted with several roads made impassable by surface water and train services stopped after the local railway line flooded. Axminster Community College was also flooded by surface water.

Worst affected was the Willhayes Park estate where a number of homes were flooded to a depth of 1m after the Mill Brook over-topped its bank. Flooding also occurred at the bottom of Castle Hill and around Stoney Bridge. Several homes at Weycroft Bridge on the outskirts of Axminster were also flooded.

Highways affected included the main Axminster to Chard road and Axminster to Kilmington road that was flooded after the RiverYarty over-topped its bank. A record river level of 3.58m was recorded at the Weycroft Bridge Gauging Station on the River Axe, easily surpassing the previous highest level of 2.94m recorded in 2000.

In Yealmpton several homes were flooded after the River Yealm over-topped its banks early Saturday morning in the Tor Bridge and Yealm Bridge area of the village. Torrential rain on Dartmoor turned the Yealm into a raging torrent that over-whelmed defences and flooded nearby properties including the WI/Village Hall.

There was also serious disruption in nearby Modbury where a number of properties and roads were flooded in the town centre.

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