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Probe starts into why flood defence failed twice


ENVIRONMENT Agency engineers were this week investigating a new £4.2M flood defence that has failed twice within a year of construction, flooding a Devon town.

The problem is believed to lie with the design of a screen at the mouth of a culvert carrying the Furzebrook watercourse through Ottery St Mary.

'Both times this screen has been covered with leaves and twigs, which should wash straight through, ' said Agency area flood risk manager Adrian Rushworth.

The Agency more than doubled the capacity of the culvert running along the Furzebrook at the end of last year, to 4.2m 3/s, following extensive flooding in the town. Screens were placed over the mouth of the culvert to prevent small children getting in and to stop debris causing blockages.

'The grid is basically 100mm spaced vertical bars that sit at 60° to the horizontal.

'We will investigate the confi guration, size and length of the screen along with some wider issues to do with drainage in the area, ' said Rushworth.

'There could be wider implications and these will be considered within the work, ' he said.

NCE's future flood management conference is on 2 December. Details from www. floodmanagement. co. uk/2005

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