Dear John Hart, stop playing King Canute. Put your wellies on!


Correspondence from a water-logged Feathered Friend! (Hope you dry out soon – Owl)

Owl is, indeed, very wise to keep a close eye on this District’s increased risk of flooding due to climate change, where the local floodplains are over capacity and drains are unable to cope with the recent more intense rainfall, which was highlighted in last night’s BBC Spotlight, reported from the old bridge over the River Clyst in Clyst St Mary. 

The investment of a quarter of a million pounds to alleviate long-standing problems from extensive flooding from the River Clyst at Clyst St Mary is welcomed by this community, although this sum will not alleviate all the local flooding problems in this fragile area.

Hopefully, the much publicised major Winslade Park development by Burrington Estates   will not exacerbate the  problematic flooding issues in this village? The Developers’ proposals for Zone B (elevated commercial units with parking below) & Zone  J (substantial car parking) are in high risk flood zones and will require significant flood relief measures to ensure that the Grindle Brook (which flows into the River Clyst) does not create substantial deluges in these areas. Storms Imogen (2016),  Ciara and Dennis (2020) created major flooding in these areas and to lower-lying parts of the village, with the A376 dual carriageway and local roads being overwhelmed and the 2020 storms are not over yet!

Clyst St Mary’s residents and businesses certainly support a better management of flood defences and storm drains and although these vital improvements will cost millions of pounds – such figures pale into insignificance against the catastrophic cost to the lives of flood victims!

However, Devon County Council Leader, John Hart’s solution to encourage a modern day dad’s army of individuals, villages and Parish Councils to do more for themselves, using self-help methods seems unrealistic, blinkered, impracticable and somewhat utopian! Historically, King Canute demonstrated that no mortal could hold back the tides and the power of leaders is worthless in such situations! 

We are all prepared to ‘do our bit’ to protect our local and wider environment and support local authorities. However, we are already manually clearing DCC drains,  cutting DCC grass verges, pruning DCC trees, collecting/disposing of DCC autumn leaves, improving DCC potholes etc but we do need a little help from local and national government and regulators to build essential, significant flood defences for protection against climate change!

A Water-logged Feathered Friend!


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