AN ACTION plan to tackle flooding has received full backing from the owners and managers of a key Bridport trading estate - despite concerns that outmoded planning procedures may limit the project's scope.

St Michael’s Trading Estate, positioned next to the River Brit, stands to benefit from the Brit Valley Natural Flood Management Project which is slated for Dorset Council's Cabinet approval.

The Cabinet is due to meet this evening (Tuesday) and councillors will be asked to approve the project and agree funding arrangements from the Environment Agency.

The project aim is to reduce flood risk to properties and flood defence maintenance costs in the area by 'natural' interventions higher in the catchment slowing the flow of water.

The risk of flooding in the wider Brit catchment area is described as "significant". Dorset Council’s Flood Risk Management Team have recorded 177 flooding incidences in the catchment between 1994 and 2023. There are also 816 properties at risk from surface water flooding.

In a statement, trading estate owners Hayward and Co said: "The owners and managers of a key trading estate in the centre of Bridport have expressed their full support for the Brit Valley Natural Flood Management Project which comes before Dorset Council’s Cabinet meeting for approval this week. But they have warned that outdated and inflexible planning procedures could reduce the benefits.

"The need for proper flood alleviation measures to protect the estate and its tenants has long been recognised by Hayward & Co, the owners and managers of St Michael’s, especially as an integrated part of their scheme to regenerate and develop the estate.

"A 22-page flood risk assessment was commissioned by Hayward & Co in 2017 with five supporting appendices including full flood data and a topographical survey as part of the supporting documentation for the scheme. This has twice been revised and updated.

"But approval for the scheme has now been delayed another nine months following a request for further flood relief data from the Environment Agency and Dorset Council. The scheme has already been on the planning stocks for more than 20 years, been submitted to four different planning committees, and finally received approval in June 2023.

"A year later and final documents have yet to be signed due to the perceived need by the EA and the council to double check and ratify flood alleviation calculations that have already been checked and ratified.

"Hayward & Co regularly works in partnership with the Environment Agency and its contractors to help facilitate desilting and riverbank repairs as part of Bridport’s well established flood defence scheme which allows river water levels to be managed in times of high flow.

"But both Agency and council will need to adopt a more flexible and practical approach as the impact of global warming continues to be felt."