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Boscastle Case Study

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Boscastle Flood 2004 Case study Boscastle is in the south west of England as shown on the map to the left. The Boscastle flood occurred on the 16th August 2004 in Boscastle in England. Boscastle is the only natural harbour for 20 miles along the Northern Cornwall Coast. The flood took the people of Boscastle by surprise as the village isn't usually prone to extreme flooding. The village had never experienced such a flood. The location of the village is within the Valency valley, and the Valency is usually a quiet stream which follows a course from the hills to the valley. Because the valley was so steep, it accelerated on the hills as it travelled down to the valley floor. This meant that the water fell extremely quickly down the valley sides. Also, the shape of the valley meant that the rainwater from the surrounding area was getting built up into a relatively narrow space descending towards the valley bottom. This caused an increase in run-off speed, which meant that it couldn't hold enough water to prevent the flooding which occurred. The entire South-West of the country had been beaten by stormy weather over the days leading up to the flood, and as a result the ground was saturated on the day of the flood. ...read more.


The image on the right shows the helicopter view of the extreme flooding. Repairs had to be made after the damage. This was extremely costly. Some buildings were beyond repair and the owners had to consider rebuilding it from scratch. The damage not only affected the residents, but also the insurance companies. Now the home insurance in Boscastle is much more costly than before. Boscastle's main industry was tourism. A lot of money was earned through this industry but after the flood, the town wasn't as big in tourism causing a massive loss. Tourist attractions such as the witchcraft museum were lost and many small businesses went out of business as a result of the flood. This affected the town very much as many people had lost their businesses and all that money spent in building it previously. Because of there being no tourism in the area, it meant that there wasn't much income for the area which was a very big problem for the people who relied on tourism to keep the money coming in. The town had to pay for both the damage and also the aid and help given. Boscastle had to pay for the costs of operating various rescue systems. Overall there was a tremendous impact in terms of financial effects all being negative. ...read more.


Some may only be brought into operation when a high tide or flood is forecast or in progress, an example of this which has taken place is the Thames Barrier in London. There are also soft defences such as wetlands and saltmarshes, which are places which provide space for floodwater and prevent flooding from happening elsewhere. At the same time, this method can benefit wildlife by providing greater habitat. Human activity isn't really responsible in any way for the flood, but the damage caused by the floods can be recognized partially to several human causes. The first of these causes is the lack of any flood control system. If the form of either raised banks around the river channel or emergency drainage ditches to catch overflowed water had been in place, the effects of the flood would've been less and would have given people more time to evacuate. Secondly, the sewer systems in Boscastle were old and had a small capacity which meant that the sudden surge of water broke the system, preventing any controlled drainage from occurring in the village and this meant that the flood water simply took the route overland, causing more damage. Also, structures like bridges were obstructing the course of the river and this increased the spread of the floodwater. Overall if these things were put into place, it would minimize the flooding at the time and also give people more time to evacuate. ...read more.

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