Press release

Environment Agency urges people to be ‘flood aware’ and improves flood warning service for South Devon

The Environment Agency is urging people and businesses in Devon and Cornwall to be ‘#floodaware’, during its annual Flood Action campaign.

Almost 5 million people in England are at risk of flooding. Yet many still haven’t taken these 3 simple steps to protect their family, home and business:

  1. check your flood risk on the Environment Agency’s online flood maps
  2. sign-up for free flood warnings by calling Floodline on 0345 988 1188 or by visiting the GOV.UK website
  3. know what to do if a flood happens

To coincide with the campaign, the Environment Agency’s flood warning service across South Devon has been improved. People at risk of flooding from the sea from Bigbury Bay to Seaton, Devon will now receive warnings specific to their local stretch of coastline, not for the whole South Devon Coast.

People can find practical advice on GOV.UK about what to do to reduce the risk to their personal safety and property when they receive a flood warning. This includes moving treasured possessions upstairs and keeping important documents to hand.

Michele Dotrice, the popular actress best known for her portrayal of Betty, the long-suffering wife of Frank Spencer in the BBC sitcom ‘Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em’, is supporting this year’s campaign. Michele, who lived in Cornwall for over 20 years, commented:

Having had the misfortune to experience flooding first-hand and knowing the devastation that this can cause, I am keen to raise awareness of the Flood Action campaign. I recently signed up to the Environment Agency’s free flood warning service and I would strongly encourage others to do the same.

The winter of 2013 to 2014 was the wettest in England for nearly 250 years but some 1.4 million properties were protected by Environment Agency flood defences. Further investment means that flood schemes have protected an extra 177,000 properties in the last 4 years.

Gordon Trapmore, a flood expert at the Environment Agency said:

One in 6 properties in England is at risk of flooding. Many people think that flooding will never happen to them - but it could.

The Environment Agency is also encouraging people to alert friends and family on social media using the hashtag #floodaware. Visit Twitter and Facebook to get involved.

Contact

Media enquiries: email Communications_DC@environment-agency.gov.uk or call 03708 506 506.

Notes to editors

The Flood Action campaign runs for 2 weeks until 13 November and will involve a range of media and social media activity, alongside partnership work and community engagement. Keep an eye on our latest activity on our blog, Creating a better place and Twitter @EnvAgencySW.

South Devon flood warnings

  • The Environment Agency is continuously improving our flood modelling and flood warning service across Devon and Cornwall.
  • Communities to benefit from improved flood warnings include Bigbury Bay, Start Point, Kingsbridge, Beesands, Torcross, Slapton, Dartmouth, Totnes, Torbay, Paignton, Newton Abbot, Kingsteignton, Shaldon, Teignmouth, Dawlish, Dawlish Warren, Lympstone, Topsham, Cockwood, Starcross, Exminster, Exmouth and Seaton.
  • These flood warnings will be based on improved flood forecasting techniques. The Environment Agency has also revised the water levels, and the wind and wave conditions used to trigger these warnings. This means customers will receive an enhanced service and more accurate warnings.