Monday, 20 June 2016

Flooding and East Devon... ... and riding roughshod over the concerns of locals

There are huge concerns that the Environment Agency is flouting its own guidelines over flooding at the proposed site at Sidford
Sid Vale Association (SVA) objections to the Sidford Business Park Planning Application | Save Our Sidmouth
Futures Forum: Sidford business park > Fords planning application >>> 16/0669/MOUT >>> Environment Agency appears to contradict its own guidance on flooding and climate change

But elsewhere in the District, it seems that local concerns are also being ridden roughshod over:


18 JUNE 2016

Interesting how the article twists its fate from flooding to lack of housing development! Especially as various local vested interests made several attempts to move in on the area.

And many will recall Hugo Swire’s comments about his involvement in this. It now looks as though he might have realised its days on its current site were numbered at least as far back as September last year:

“A Devon village looks set to lose its thriving primary school because of a flooding threat.
Tipton St John Church of England Primary School is likely to move to a site within the campus of The King’s School Ottery St Mary.
The move comes after the primary school missed out on funds to relocate within the village.
The school, which has a split site , currently faces the a threat of flooding.
The majority of its pupils come from outside the village and there is no prospect of significant housing development to allow the catchment area.”

Devon village set to lose its primary school amid flood worries | Exeter Express and Echo

Here is what Mr Swire said in January 2016:

“I am, as I have been for some time, deeply concerned about the effect of flooding on Tipton St John Primary School and the recent floods show just how vulnerable the school is. This is clearly an unsustainable situation and it is not only the pupils’ quality of education but also their safety which is being compromised.
‘I spoke to Lord Nash this afternoon and re-emphasised the urgency of finding a solution to this problem. Whilst the long-term solution remains under consideration, the Minister agreed that in the short-term he would contact the EA and ask them to look into possible measures which could mitigate further flooding to the school.
‘It is clear to me that we need to take a broader look at flooding in East Devon and I have invited Sir James Bevan, the new Chief Executive of the Environment Agency, to the constituency so that I am able to show him some of the areas which are most affected’.

and in September 2015:

“Very real concerns have been raised over the safety of the pupils at the school so it is essential that we find a solution to this problem. I am supportive of the proposal to move the school to a safer part of the village but securing the significant amount of funding required will always be a challenge.
‘I wanted to take this issue to ministerial level and impress upon Lord Nash the importance and urgency of this situation. I was very pleased that the Minister said he would look again at the school’s original PSBP2 application and send an official from the Department for Education to Tipton St John so that they can see for themselves the perilous situation in which the school finds itself in.
‘This is promising news but we still have a long way to go before finding a long-term solution to this problem’.

Doesn’t sound like he expected the school to survive in its current location and that he had a pretty good idea that the ” long-term solution” would be closure.

Tipton St John likely to lose its primary school due to flooding | East Devon Watch

See also:
TIPTON ST JOHN: Community demands improvement in East Devon flood defences - View from the Blackdown Hills
School’s flooding dilemma taken to the top | East Devon

Eighteen months ago, the people of Clyst St Mary won a case against the Environment's proposals to flood their livelihoods:
Campaigners celebrate victory in battle to "Save the Clyst" | Exeter Express and Echo
Campaigners claim victory after plans to flood farm land near River Exe are shelved | Western Morning News

With comment on Jon Snow's blog at the time:

Nigel Cheffers-Heard 30-Apr-13

Here in Topsham in Devon, the Environment Agency and partners the RSPB are pushing a scheme to flood our beloved River Clyst Valley. This is in the name of “habitat creation”, which is of course Newspeak for habitat destruction. This is ostensibly to satisfy Europen Habitat legislation. In fact, the Exe Estuary nearby has more mud than the birds can ever occupy, yet the RSPB have seized an opportunity to expand their fiefdom. The scheme threatens productive farmland and an important road. Our valley has developed over generations, where all interests are catered for in balance. The Eco fascists of the EA and RSPB want to flood it for the benefit of one special interest group, and to hell with the people who actually own and care for it.

And the real sadness? They are offering large sums of money to hard pressed farmers to ruin their own land forever. This not only at a time of increasing concern about home food production, but for the first time ever, they are fomenting conflict between families who have cared for the land for generations. Shame on them.

This sceptic isle?

And of course, Feniton really felt the impact of flooding - and of unwanted development - in 2014:

Flood-hit areas earmarked for more homes

Posted on February 16, 2014by susiebond

An article in the Sunday Telegraph by Andrew Gilligan and James Quinn spells out in graphic detail the problem of the Government’s relaxed planning laws. The article appears in full below:

Councils in some of the areas worst affected by Britain’s flooding crisis have published plans to build hundreds of homes on land that is currently under water.

In the six years to 2011, the Environment Agency did not object to more than half of all planning applications for flood-risk areas, the report said. In about half the cases where it did oppose an application, it dropped its objection after negotiations with councils and developers.

Flood-hit areas earmarked for more homes | Susie Bond
Feniton faces “very real threat” of flooding without rapid change | Exeter Express and Echo

Four years ago, the Telegraph posted this video:



Video: Flood warning: Sidmouth in Devon deluged with water - Telegraph

But the District Council reassures us that everything will be OK:
14 April 2016 - East Devon District Council and partners storm into action for Exmouth weather and flood alert - East Devon
Latest News - Exeter and East Devon Growth Point

See also:
Futures Forum: Commons Committee very critical of the government's "reactive approach to funding for flood defence" ... and "the lack of long-term strategic planning to manage flood risk."
EA position on planning application 16/0669/MOUT at Sidbury - a Freedom of Information request to Environment Agency - WhatDoTheyKnow.

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