More support is needed to help Cornwall and Devon recover from one of the worst winters on record and deal with a long list of infrastructure failures, says the Institution of Civil Engineers.
In Cornwall alone an estimated £21.4m of damage was caused by heavy rainfall, combined with spring tides and tidal surges. Many landmarks such as Portreath Harbour wall and Penzance Promenade were almost destroyed, with over 300 properties flooded around the county.
The institution says that with such a long coastline and populated areas below sea level, it is "imperative" that defences are able to withstand the violence of the sea and storms, with the destruction of Dawlish rail line highlighting the vulnerability of infrastructure.
Trish Johnson, ICE South West regional director, said: “The Environment Agency is doing everything within its means and Network Rail and the local authorities in the South West have worked tirelessly to repair the devastation left behind by the storms.
“But with the historic infrastructure that protects significant areas of the region from flooding, there is a serious possibility of some major failures in the future, meaning that this winter is not the end of the problem.
She continued: “It may take years to fully recover from what has happened to the region, but support is needed now to repair and protect those defences that are most vital to the South West and its population.”
ICE South West will be releasing a State of the Nation regional report on the state of the regions infrastructure in June. This will provide an assessment of the state of current infrastructure in the region and a look at where long-term planning and investment is required.