Flood Action Plan

(Download a copy of this Ten Point Plan from here to display in your home/holiday cottage)

The traditional village of Polperro is located within a narrow, steep-sided valley and is potentially at risk of flooding primarily from the Langreek stream, the River Pol, and from tidal surges combined with southerly or southeasterly winds. Major, life-threatening flooding events occurred from the rivers in 1976 and in 1993.

Since then a number of flood protection measures have greatly reduced the risk of a catastrophic flood. In 1997 a flood protection scheme was completed which diverts overflows from the River Pol and the Langreek stream through a kilometre-long tunnel from the car park at the top of the village directly southwards to the coast. The Environment Agency (EA) regularly checks for blockages at the trash screens at the top of the car park and at the bottom of Langreek Lane; and the EA has a number of remotely monitored river-level gauges on the main rivers to warn of high flows and screen blockages, including one near Saxon Bridge that provides real-time, on-line information on water levels, available to the public. Go to www.environment-agency.gov.uk and follow the ‘Flood warnings, flood maps and river levels’ link. The gate at the entrance to the harbour, which was reinforced in 2010, has reduced the height and reach of storm surges.

Ten point plan

Nevertheless, damaging and disruptive floods can still occur. Dangers increase when drains, culverts or the rivers become blocked. Spring tides and storm surges regularly bring risks to properties close to the harbour and bordering the river. Following a meeting of a focus group made up of local residents who are vulnerable to flooding, together with members of the Polperro Community Council, it is recommended that residents and business proprietors in the lower part of the village should adopt the ten-point plan shown below, in order to maximise our community’s resilience to flooding. In addition, from time to time the Polperro Community Council, Cornwall Council or the Environment Agency may arrange special events to increase the community’s awareness of and resilience to the risks of flooding; these events will be publicised on the notice boards at the school and at the entrance to Little Green, and on the Polperro Community Council website.

Your 10-point household flood action plan

1. Find out the most likely causes of flooding to your property and the physical trigger signs that may indicate a flood is possible.

2. Be alert to debris, weeds, leaves or any other blockage that could impede the flow of water into the drains or down the river during periods of heavy rain. Pay special attention to drains near the bottom of steep hills and in the lowest parts of the village, particularly when flood alerts have been issued.

3. Report any blockages that cannot be cleared easily and safely, either to a Councillor or to the Environment Agency/Cornwall Council on one of the numbers shown below.

4. Be aware of any neighbours who might have difficulty coping with an emergency, and be ready to provide or arrange any help that may be required.

5. Ensure that you have made arrangements for sand bags or other temporary protection to be available to you at short notice. Better still, consider purchasing ‘Property Level Protection’ such as flood doors or barriers, pumps, non-return valves and air brick covers.

6. Keep a list of important telephone, insurance policy and bank account numbers in a place where you can easily find them.

7. Be prepared to move items of value upstairs or to a safe place when flooding is possible or the property is left unoccupied.

8. Know how to turn off electricity and water supplies in your property if you are flooded (or ensure a neighbour can do this for you).

9. Become familiar with the Flood Warning Service messages and understand how they apply to you and the community:

  • a flood alert means flooding is possible, be prepared
  • a flood warning means flooding is expected, immediate action is required to protect yourself and your property
  • a severe flood warning means there is a significant, immediate risk of serious local disruption and damage

10. Register with the Environment Agency to receive flood alerts and warnings by telephone or email for your property, and monitor the media and internet for weather alerts.

For further information or advice on matters related to flood risks please contact Polperro Community Council or one of the following, as appropriate:

  • Environment Agency, 24-hour emergency hotline: 0800 80 70 60
  • Environment Agency, non-emergency advice: 0345 9881188 or 0845 9881188
  • Cornwall Council, flooding or drainage issues: 0300 1234 222
  • South West Water emergency line: 0800 230 0561