FLOOD incidents in Dorset have more than tripled over a two-year period.

Reported incidents rose from 30 in 2019 to 104 in 2020, an increase of more than 240% – according to figures produced by Dorset Council.

Place and resources scrutiny committee chairman, Cllr Shane Bartlett, has described the dramatic increase, thought to be linked partially to climate change, as “a cause for concern".

Dorset Echo: Flooding near Weymouth Harbour. Picture: Dorset EchoFlooding near Weymouth Harbour. Picture: Dorset Echo

The council says that this year it has carried out two significant flood investigations for Dorchester and Broadmayne and developed a flood risk policy and sustainable drainage guidance for the draft Dorset Local Plan.

It has also introduced a number of natural flood interventions to slow the flow of water in the Upper Piddle catchment area.

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Councillors were told that work has also been taking place on the River Asker with a number of partners, including Dorset Wildlife Trust, to clear invasive weeds, install natural flood management measures and carry out 1.4km of habitat improvements. The river is currently classed as a “failing river” under the Water Framework Directive.

A similar community led approach is being considered for work on the River Char catchment.

The council says that a strategic flood risk assessment is also under way to assess risks of flooding across the council area in the light of warnings on climate change which may bring heavier rainfall and a rise in sea level.

Dorset Echo: Commercial Road. Picture: Dorset EchoCommercial Road. Picture: Dorset Echo

Extensive work is already under way on flood protection scheme for areas at the highest risk, including Weymouth and West Bay.

This includes a £115 harbour walls replacement project in Weymouth in a bid to prevent future flooding in the town.

As reported, the project was hit with unexpected costs as a result of estimates of two walls coming back higher than expected.

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While in West Bay timber piles are set to be replaced during the winter months as a remedial repair to prepare for a long-term improvement plan, if recommended.

The council’s place and resources scrutiny committee have now asked experts from the Environment Agency to come and talk to them at their next meeting about Dorset projects to reduce the risk of flooding.

Dorset Echo: Graphic showing potential effects of rising sea levels on Weymouth seafrontGraphic showing potential effects of rising sea levels on Weymouth seafront