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River banks could be cleared for safety

The Environment Agency is considering whether to clear trees and bushes from water courses near Boscastle to prevent a repeat of last month's flash flood.

Last week the Agency appointed water research company HR Wallingford to investigate events which led to the flash floods at Boscastle last month.

HR Wallingford will model the watercourses around Boscastle to assess whether hedges, walls and trees held water back before being overwhelmed.

'We might have to clear trees from the riverbank but we don't want to create an artificial system, ' said Horrocks.

He added that although soil and trees in some cases could hold back water, the intensity of rain was such that 'any soil capacity would have been exceeded'.

The Agency fears that the event could be more closely related to tropical climates and is pulling in international expertise for advice on long term planning.

'We wanted Wallingford because of their international knowledge - what we've got here could be tropical rainfall, ' said Environment Agency south west regional flood defence manager Richard Horrocks.

Boscastle's two river valleys, Valency and Jordan, both have short, steep catchments so the rivers swell very quickly during heavy rainfall.

'We will also be questioning whether property damaged during the floods should remain, ' warned Horrocks.

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