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Councillor asks agency to review its water storage policy for pool

By The Cornishman  |  Posted: January 16, 2014

Town councillor, Brian Capper, wants the Environment Agency to explain why more water can't be kept in Copperhouse Pool.

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A HAYLE town councillor is calling for the Environment Agency (EA) to review its policy at Copperhouse Pool after more water was stored there than usual without significant effect during recent stormy conditions.

Brian Capper said the EA had rejected calls from the town council to allow more tides to be kept in the pool, insisting it would pose a flood risk.

However following the extreme weather, Hayle suffered no flooding and Mr Capper is questioning why more water can't be kept in the pool at other times of the year.

He said: "Hayle Town Council has for years been trying to persuade the EA to allow more tides to be kept in Copperhouse Pool, to enable more use for water sports, for aesthetic improvement and permit occasional salt water inundation of the upper reaches of Wilson's Pool to enhance the saltmarsh.

"One of (the EA's) main objections has been that the pool has to be used as a flood catchment for rivers, streams and land drains during bad weather and that the gate must be shut at low or mid-tide level during low pressure events, to ensure suitable capacity and protect low-lying properties from flooding.

"During these recent storms and severe low pressure weather, the EA allowed the highest tide of the year to be locked in the pool. It is interesting to note that apparently no properties or streets were flooded, so is it not time for the EA to review the policy and permit more use of Copperhouse Pool as Hayle Town Council and other bodies have been requesting?"

The gate at Cooperhouse Pool is strictly controlled by the EA and is part of the Hayle flood defence scheme.

A spokesman for the EA said that water levels are constantly monitored at the pool and there is a delicate balancing act trying to avoid river and tidal flooding.

"The worst situation to happen is when we get a massive tonnage of water building up. We shut the gate at high tide to stop the tide coming into the pool and posing a risk to local properties. It is designed to keep any risk of flooding to a minimum. If we kept levels high in the pool we wouldn't have enough time to respond," he said.

"Obviously, in any extreme weather conditions, the agency has precautions in place to minimise the risk of flooding. We can never fully eliminate risk, but our teams acted accordingly and did the job. Nowhere flooded."

Last week a representative from the EA attended a harbour liaison meeting to discuss the issue, but some town councillors said they were not satisfied with the answers.

Mr Capper has proposed that the town council write to the EA to ask for a full explanation.

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