Friday, March 9, 2012 - 09:00

Communities affected by flooding have a chance to shape government policy on the issue at a free debate in St Austell on Wednesday, March 14.

‘Living with Flood Risk’, which takes place at the Eden Café, will focus on the best ways to deal with the increasing risk of frequent flooding in the UK in a changing climate.

It will look at how communities can work together to better deal with incidents such as the Boscastle Floods of 2004 and the 2010 floods that affected towns and villages in Mid Cornwall.

The debate will be led by flood specialists, including Andrew Houghton, the Cornwall Floods Project Manager from the Environment Agency and Charles Richards, the Chairman of the Par and St Blazey Community Flood Plan Group. They will be giving short talks to introduce the subject and will be on hand to answer questions.

The thoughts and opinions captured at the Eden Café will be recorded in the form of a ‘Public Insight Page’. These documents will then be used to help inform government decisions on flooding.

During the evening, the questions explored will include:

•    How can vulnerabilities be reduced?
•    Does it help to organise local warning systems?
•    What lessons have been learnt from the floods of November 2010?
•    How can damage to households and livelihoods be prevented, and if it can’t, how can recovery services work better together, so damage can be repaired more quickly?

Gus Grand, Lead on Climate Change at the Eden Project, said: “The debate will provide a great opportunity for people to have their opinions heard. The local area, including the Eden Project, has had direct experience of flooding and the difficulties it can bring, so it is important that people here can play a part in future decision making.”

The debate is part of a collaboration with Sciencewise, a project funded by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, to collect wide-ranging views on specific topics to make Public Insight Pages. These pages will then be passed on to key policy makers within government departments.

The event, which takes place from 5:45pm until 8:30pm, is free and food and drink will be provided. Places are limited, so contact Janine Kelk or 01726 818848 to book in advance.

To find out more about events at the Eden Café, situated in White River Place, go to: