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Update on weather damage in Cornwall

Work is underway across Cornwall to repair the damage created by the storms experienced over Christmas and into the New Year.

Residents and visitors are advised not to visit locations badly affected by the storms and to keep away from potentially dangerous areas like harbour walls and coastal paths. The car park at Portreath had to be evacuated on Monday due to the danger presented to the people storm watching and visiting to see the damage created to the pier by the sea.

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Dave Owens, Cornwall Council Assistant Head of Service for Environment and Waste, has been heading up the work to repair the damage. Dave says: “Our flood team officers are currently carrying out inspections across Cornwall but with the ground completely saturated and further more rain forecast the public is strongly advised that further landslips are possible around the coast. Our teams are working hard to repair the damage and protect the public, whose safety is our most important concern; I would urge people to please stay away from damaged areas and out of danger.”

With more unsettled weather forecast for Cornwall long term, there is a risk of further landslips. Cornwall Council and our partners are inspecting and monitoring damage and areas known to be at risk.

Some work has become more urgent since Monday – and is already underway - with further storm damage to:

  • the lower wall at the canal entrance in Bude
  • Portreath harbour wall and pier
  • Newquay Fistral beach where the Surfing Centre has been badly undermined
  • Newquay Towan beach where the hole in the sea wall has become approximately twice as bad

Work is also underway at Seaton Beach, near Looe, where the sea wall has been badly damaged - with urgent repairs to a sewage leak and boulders being placed on the seaward side of the wall. 100m of the 130m wall has fallen or been undermined when the wall went from being protection against sand to sea defence over the course of three days.

Sand that has built up against properties on Porthmeor beach in St Ives is being monitored for items that may need to be removed such as large drift wood to prevent further damage to the properties. The sand is being left in place at the moment as it is providing resistance to waves, reducing the power and impact of them travelling towards the properties. The sand will be moved when appropriate and we are meeting with residents later this week to keep them informed and hear their concerns.

Work has been completed at Newquay Harbour on the slipway and South Pier.

The cost of repairing the damage across Cornwall is estimated at being just over £2 million - initially £1.56 million in the short term with an additional £575k in the long term.

Cornwall Council services, along with our partners including the Environment Agency, are meeting with town and parish councils and resident groups in affected areas to provide support and advice, and gather local information.

Geoff Brown, Cabinet Member for Homes and Communities, praised the resilience of the communities affected by the storms saying: “Our communities are really strong and resilient and are to be applauded for coming together to defend their local areas. In Perranporth local residents and businesses worked together filling sandbags on the beach to provide what protection they could against the onslaught of the incoming tides and heavy rains.”

Edwina Hannaford, Cabinet Member for Environment, Heritage and Planning praised the work of the services who worked tirelessly during the flood and storms to protect communities and repair the damage as quickly as possible: “Officers from Cornwall Council’s Localism service, along with the Highways, Environment, Fire and Rescue and Emergency Management services continue to coordinate flood recovery work across Cornwall, especially in my local area Looe, which was worst affected by flooding. Working closely with Devon and Cornwall Police and the Environment Agency teams are working together to carry out urgent emergency repairs in the immediate aftermath of the terrible weather.

“The storms are some of the worst Cornwall has experienced in recent years and it is a testament to the joint work of our Cornwall Council teams, the Environment Agency, Devon and Cornwall Police, the Coastguard and the other emergency services and partners that Cornwall is beginning to make the long and hard journey back to normal so quickly.”

Storm and flood damage has occurred generally along the Coastal Path, with landslips Cornwall-wide, and specifically at:

  • St Ives Porthmeor Beach
  • Long Rock coastal defence
  • Portreath Harbour Wall and Quay
  • Porthcurnick sea wall
  • Swanpool coastal path
  • Porthleven sea wall
  • Perranporth Beach
  • Newquay Fistral, Towan and harbour areas
  • Bude breakwater and harbour areas
  • Seaton Beach
  • Kingsand

Coastal flooding affected 65 properties across Cornwall, which continue to be offered support and advice from the Council’s Localism service who are working with local members and Volunteer Cornwall. Looe was the worst affected by flooding with around 20 properties, mainly business premises. Cornwall Council and Cornwall Development Company continue to provide support with BITC (Business In The Community) to the affected businesses and are also working with the Environment Agency to look at practical measures that may reduce the impact of coastal flooding in the future. BITC has also supported us, working in St Ives and Portreath.

Rob Andrew, Assistant Head of Service for Localism and Devolution said “Staff from the Localism service continues to work with other services, partners Volunteer Cornwall and BITC to support those communities most affected. Moving forward we will be organising meetings in a number of communities to help understand the causes and impacts of recent events to learn lessons and help build future resilience; this will build upon the work underway, that is rapidly gathering momentum, to develop Community Emergency Plans in communities across Cornwall so that they are better prepared for events that may occur in the future.”

If anyone is aware of any communities or individuals who are in need of help and support following flooding please email cornwallflood@cornwall.gov.uk  which is monitored during normal working hours.

Any concerns about immediate risk to life and property should be reported to the emergency services on 999, reports of highway flooding or damage should be reported to 0300 1234 222.

For advice on preparing for flooding visit the Environment Agency website or our flood advice pages.

Story posted 09 January 2013

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