Flood Report Says Scilly Is Low Risk

A flood risk report produced for the Council has shown that there is no significant risk of flooding in Scilly.

Chief Planning Officer, Craig Dryden said that might surprise some people, but added that the report didn’t cover flood risk from the sea.

The report is required by Defra as part of the Council’s new role as a Lead Local Flood Authority, or LLFA, following recent changes in European law.

The Council is now responsible for managing flood risks associated with surface and ground water while responsibility for other sources of flooding, such as from the sea or rivers, remains with the Environment Agency. Scilly does not have any major rivers or watercourses.

The consultants who compiled the report used historical data, as Scilly does not currently feature on Environment Agency maps, which only record flooding events involving more than 20 properties or 200 people.

They used data from three significant flood events – the ‘Great Flood’ of 1744, December 1989 and October 2004 and concluded that, while there was some surface-water flooding, the main threat was from the sea, with only one property that has flooded on more than one occasion – the Mermaid Inn, which has a basement below sea level.

Recent run-off flooding at Buzza Street wasn’t considered.

The Mermaid Pub

But Councillor Christine Savill said her eyes were “drawn to the amount of money that was allocated for the report” by the Government – £114,000. She was “heartened” that the Council has so far only spent £2,750 on the report, and congratulated the consultants on “making eighteen pages with the amount of content that’s in it.”

She asked if the remaining money could be put to other purposes such as Emergency Planning, and Cllr David Pearson asked if it could be used for defending the islands against flooding from the sea.

Director of Finance and Resources, Peter Lawrence, said from memory, he thought the money was ring-fenced and couldn’t be put to other uses, but said he would need to check the small print.