In October 2008, severe flooding in east Devon affected more than 350 properties in rural communities when 177mm of rain fell in just 3 hours. More than 80 per cent of the properties were flooded by streams or surface water.
The Environment Agency, Devon County Council, East Devon District Council and local farmers worked together to reduce future flood risk and increase resilience.
The Environment Agency researched the way land was managed and found that increased surface water run-off was a particular problem where soils had been compacted, especially on steep slopes.
- The Environment Agency worked with farmers to help them recognise the problems of soil compaction and poor drainage. A sub-soiler machine to break up compacted soil was provided for use by the farmers to improve soil quality. A total of 270 acres has now been treated
- The Environment Agency and local councils cleared blockages from storm water pipes, repaired and replaced damaged pipes and carried out surveys of main drainage systems
- A fund was set up to provide grants of up to £500 for the local community to make their homes more resilient to any future floods, for example by purchasing flood gates or air brick covers.
- Reduced flood risk for local communities
- Better use of fertilisers for farmers helping to save them money
- Reduced risks of pollution incidents in local watercourses