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Bodmin flood risk profile


Aerial photo of Bodmin

Bodmin drains to the River Camel and out to the sea through the Camel Estuary. The Bodmin Town Leat runs through the centre of Bodmin and much of this Leat is culverted. As Bodmin has grown, greater reliance has been placed on combined drainage systems, designed when the town was much smaller.

Review of historic flooding

Bodmin has been affected by a number of flood events. Flooding of areas in the centre of the town has commonly been recorded. This is mainly caused by heavy rainfall and the lack of capacity in the town’s drainage system to manage intense rainfall. 

Rivers and catchments

Land to the west/north side of the A30 drains to the Camel Catchment and on to the north coast. Land to the east/south side of the A30 generally drains to the Fowey and on to the south coast.

Key rivers and streams in the area include:

  • The River Camel
  • Clerkenwater
  • Dunmere Stream
  • Lanivet Stream
  • St Lawrence Stream
  • Cooksland Stream
  • Cardinham Water
  • River Fowey

 Map showing Rivers and their catchments in the Bodmin area.

 Rivers and their catchments in the Bodmin area.

Risk of flooding from rivers

Around 250 properties are at risk of fluvial (river) flooding in Bodmin. Around 110 of these properties are protected by the flood alleviation scheme.
Of the 250 properties at risk, around 170 are residential, including a care home. The additional 80 properties are classed as commercial.

Risk of flooding from surface water

Over 1000 properties are potentially at risk from surface water flooding. Of these around 740 are residential properties. 290 properties are commercial including:

  • 5 schools
  • 1 fire station
  • 1 police station
  • 1 hospital
  • 4 electricity substations

 You can view maps relating to the area via the following links:

Flood risk management in Bodmin

There are a number of existing flood defences in Bodmin which protect just under half the properties at risk from fluvial flooding.

The Town Leat catchment is identified as a Critical Drainage Area (CDA). Any development which occurs in a CDA requires a reduction in flood risk (betterment) rather than just having a neutral impact.

Bodmin is within the Camel Valley Policy Unit of the East Cornwall Catchment Flood Management Plan. The policy for this unit is Option 4: “Areas of low, moderate or high flood risk where we are already managing the flood risk effectively but where we may need to take further action to keep pace with climate change”.

Main challenges for local flood risk management in Bodmin

The Bodmin Town Leat requires ongoing maintenance in order to function properly. It may require an increase in capacity in order to maintain the present level of protection with respect to climate change 

New developments in and around Bodmin provide an opportunity to more effectively manage and control surface water runoff. This is through Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS). Retrospective SuDS should also be utilised to manage runoff from sites that were developed prior to legislation.

Opportunities for flood risk management in Bodmin

  • Investigate further actions in Bodmin to keep pace with climate change. Ensuring measures undertaken avoid negative impacts to the River Camel

  • Investigate the feasibility of relocating the fire station in the town

  • Implement a Surface Water Management Plan for Bodmin

  • Investigate the links between land management practice, runoff and flood risk in the local area

  • Target channel maintenance and review current drainage system infrastructure capacity. This is to reduce incidents of blockage and flooding.