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The project includes a number of different schemes to reduce the risk of flooding from various sources, such as surface water, river flooding and tidal flooding.

Additional £7.8m cash boost to reduce flood risk in Par and St. Blazey

Residents in Par and St Blazey are to benefit from a major flood prevention scheme which has received a £7.8m cash injection today, bringing the total flood alleviation investment in the area to £32m.

The Environment Agency and Cornwall Council, with support from the University of Exeter and Westcountry Rivers Trust, are finalising the St Austell Bay Resilient Regeneration (StARR) project to reduce the risk of flooding to the communities of Par and St Blazey.

The England European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) has awarded £7.8m to the project as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.

The project includes a number of different schemes to reduce the risk of flooding from various sources, such as surface water, river flooding and tidal flooding.

Plans include reconnecting river floodplains, tree planting, water storage features, highway improvements and works to the existing infrastructure along Par River and Treffry Canal.

The latest ERDF funds complement additional funding already secured for the project meaning that approximately £32m of investment has now been secured for flood mitigation schemes in the area.

After declaring a climate emergency earlier this year, this programme forms a key element of Cornwall Council’s climate change action plan for managing flood risk and adapting to an already changed climate

Rob Nolan, Cornwall’s Cabinet Member for the Environment and Public Protection, said: “We are delighted to receive this significant investment for the StARR project which will benefit the whole St Austell Bay community by improving flood resilience for homes, businesses, community facilities and transport links, making the area a better place to live and work.

“Damaging floods occur in Par and St Blazey every few years and with climate change impacts such as sea levels rising and more intense rainfall, the risk of flooding is going to increase.

“By applying the best scientific knowledge and techniques we will be leading the way with the StARR project which will serve as a national pilot demonstrating the whole catchment approach to reducing flood risk. This is another way we are working to combat the climate emergency.”   

Final designs are now being drawn up and residents are encouraged to comment formally on the scheme proposals via the planning application process which is expected to take place from autumn.

A public information event featuring design proposals was held recently at St Blazey Football Club. Nearly 200 local residents attended to find out about the latest plans to reduce flood risk to the area.

Additional funding for the StARR project is being provided by a variety of sources including DEFRA Growth funds, Flood Defence Grant in Aid, South West Water, the Environment Agency and Cornwall Council.

Pauline Giles, Cornwall Councillor for St Blazey, said: "This is very welcome news for my residents. Having lived all my life here, I have seen firsthand the damage and destruction past flooding has created.

"I’m sure my residents will be grateful to know, that their properties will be safe from flooding in the future."

Jordan Rowse, Cornwall Councillor for Par, Biscovey and St Blazey Gate, said: “This is fantastic news and this cash injection will make a huge difference. Cornwall Council has been working hard for a number of years now to turn ambitious plans into a reality.

"This project will make a huge difference in Par and St Blazey, ameliorating the flooding which so often blights our community. Now that a significant amount of funding has been secured, we can focus on delivering the project and turning the area into a thriving, flood resilient community.”

Matt Healey, Fisheries Officer and StARR lead at Westcountry Rivers Trust, said: “We welcome the additional funding from ERDF to support our role in the StARR project. The funding allows us to engage with all landowners in the Par catchment and seek innovative ways to contribute to flood alleviation and habitat improvements utilising natural capital. We look forward to working in partnership with the Environment Agency, Cornwall Council and University of Exeter in delivering the project.”

You can find the latest scheme announcements by following Twitter @EnvAgencySW or @CornwallCouncil or by visiting the StARR project website

Date: 18 September 2019