Low-cost measures increase resilience to flooding in a rural area

Devon County Council

April 2010

  • UK
  • Agriculture
  • Built environment
  • Flooding

Following severe flooding in October 2008, cost effective solutions were identified to increase local resilience to future such events.

Main messages

Partnerships can combine technical expertise with local knowledge to find effective solutions.

In detail


October 2008 intense rainfall (177 mm in 3 hours) led to severe flooding with 350 properties affected in rural areas. A clear need to reduce and manage the risks of flooding led to a partnership project to increase resilience in East Devon.


East Devon Flood Recovery Group was set up by Devon County Council and East Devon District Council. Three of the group’s aims were to get people back in their homes following the October 2008 floods, to learn from the experience, and to working together to reduce the impacts of future events.

Environment Agency has an engineering input to the process – clearing blockages from storm water pipes, replacing damaged drains, carrying out surveys of key drainage systems. Also surveyed local fields and found that 60% of them had compacted soil, reducing the capacity to absorb rainfall and exacerbating runoff.


Provision of a sub-soiler – machine to break up compacted soil – for use by local farmers. A total of 270 acres have now been treated.

Fund established (£35,000 total fund with grants of up to £500) to help local people buy products to protect their homes from flooding such as flood gates and air brick covers.

Devon County Council bid for Defra funding was successful in securing £97,000 for a community scheme in Rockbeare, East Devon.

Main players & partners

  • Devon County Council
  • East Devon District Council
  • East Devon Flood Recovery Group
  • Defra
  • Environment Agency



Low cost but effective measures to increase resilience in a rural area.