A new assessment that forecasts future flood risk in Weymouth town centre has been undertaken and published by Dorset Council.

The study assesses the levels of flooding that could occur over the next 114 years in extreme weather events. It considers sea, river, rainfall and groundwater. 

The Environment Agency (EA) carried out the study on behalf of the council, and the findings have now been published.  

This Level 2 Strategic Flood Risk Assessment (SFRA) will help guide the council’s work on local plan and the Town Council’s work on its neighbourhood plan. The findings from the assessment will also need to be considered when making decisions on planning applications. It focuses on the Weymouth Town Centre area defined in the West Dorset and Weymouth & Portland Local Plan (2015)

The report builds on existing information to give a much clearer picture of what the next century could look like. It considers potential climate change implications, and what needs to be done to make sure residents and businesses can continue to safely work and live within the town for decades and centuries to come. 

Weymouth Town Centre is vulnerable to multiple sources of flooding because of its position at the mouth of the river Wey, its coastal frontage, and its underlying geology. Some forecasts based on the worst-case scenarios indicate that the UK may need to adapt to around 1 metre of sea level rise in the future because of climate change, and Dorset is not immune to this. 

Cllr David Walsh, Portfolio Holder for planning, said:  

“This study provides us with incredibly valuable insight into how Weymouth’s flood risk might change over the next hundred years or so, meaning we can take measures to mitigate against the effects of climate change in and around the town.  

“We’ve all seen stories in the news recently of the devastation that flooding causes to individuals and businesses that are affected, and we want to be able to do what we can to prevent this happening in Weymouth. 

“We will continue to work with the Environment Agency and government on a flood and coastal risk management strategy to manage the forecasted flooding and to design developments with the future in mind. It will offer greater protection for properties and support the regeneration of town centre sites.” 

An Environment Agency spokesperson said:

“We continue to support Dorset Council in developing their spatial plans to make land use choices to achieve greater flood and coastal resilience. The publication of this document is essential in advising the council on growth and infrastructure requirements and helps to set out how any planned growth in the town can support the community’s ability to be more resilient to tomorrow’s climate.

“Flooding is a natural occurrence, and we cannot eliminate the risk of all flooding; our National Flood Risk Strategy calls for the nation to embrace a broad range of resilience actions where there is a risk. We are supportive of the council’s work on delivering a long-term adaptive approach to managing flood and coastal erosion risk that can deliver a more sustainable future for the town.”

Any flood defences will be phased. The scale of the protection will be appropriate for the expected sea levels within their designed life. 

Read the Level 2 Strategic Flood Risk Assessment for Weymouth Town Centre

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