In the weeks leading up to the flooding, the Braunton area had seen prolonged periods of rainfall, heavily saturating the ground. Shortly after 2am on Saturday 22nd December, the Environment Agency issued a severe flood warning for the River Caen at Braunton. High volumes of surface run-off overwhelmed the River Caen, and it breached a section of newly-completed flood defences. Parts of the village’s commercial area (Caen Street) lie below the normal river level, and as such dozens of neighbouring properties were flooded. With their aim of supporting resilient communities Community Resilience UK helped to support this emergency response.
Small & Medium Enterprises (SMEs) affected
In total, 21 SMEs were impacted by the flooding in Braunton.
General effect of the incident
News crews arrived during the height of the flooding and reported that Braunton was ‘closed to the public’, much to the displeasure of local traders. The event caused considerable loss of earnings during a period that would usually be a popular destination for shopping and day trippers to Braunton. Members of the public worked together to fill and transport sandbags to defend homes and business properties in the immediate flood-hit vicinity. A nearby secondary school was opened as a Rest Centre for residents in need of temporary shelter, warmth and support.
Despite the Christmas holiday period, the situation had been monitored remotely and contact with the Local Authority Emergency Managers had been established quickly. BITC were able to formally request that BERG be activated to assist the recovery at Braunton within 24hours of the flood impact. A BERG Liaison was deployed to the village early on the 24th December in order to assess the impacts and provide further on-scene and up-to-date reports on the status of affected SMEs. Four of the most severely affected SMEs were offered assistance from BERG. These are the London Inn pub, Mark Adams Optometrist, Copy Catz and The Mariners Arms pub. BERG was able to advise and assist three of the SMEs with insurance claims. The President of BITC, HRH Prince Charles, then visited Braunton on 26th February 2013 to offer his personal support.
Discover more about the BERG initiative here.