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2020 Conference

As with many events this year, we had to move our conference online due to COVID-19 pandemic. Our first virtual conference was held on Friday 6th November 2020 and was one of our most successful events yet!

The recent global pandemic has demonstrated how community groups are able to spontaneously pull together and work cohesively to reduce the impacts of emergencies. Beyond COVID-19, we have also witnessed another wild and wet winter, and this summer the unseasonable arrival of Storm Ellen. At our conference the audience was presented with the issues we need to tackle together, as well as what we can do to become better prepared for future flood and severe weather events. We heard from the ‘Queen of Floods’ Mary Dhonau, Cornwall Catchment Partnership, Lostwithiel Flood Group, Local Flood Risk Management experts and the team working on the new Property Flood Resilience (PFR) Pathfinder project, plus others.

We would like to thank all our guest speakers for their time and support for this year’s conference, as well as all those who attended on the day and made this year’s conference a successful one. You will find below the various topics which were covered on the day, where you can view their presentations and browse related resources. If you have any suggestions or ideas for our 2021 conference, please get in touch with us!

"Good range of speakers, all very interesting in what they had to say. I learnt a lot. Thanks"

"Great CCFF Conference- one of their best despite being virtual"

Our 10 year Journey

In November 2010 fifteen communities were victim of widespread flooding across Cornwall, with over 300 properties affected. A multi-agency effort supported those communities to recover, pulling together a range of professionals and community leaders. Rather than dissolve this team at the end of the process, Cornwall Community Flood Forum (CCFF) was established. November 2020 therefore marked our 10-year journey of development, alongside a number of community flood groups which are still operating today. We celebrated this achievement and all the hard work undertaken across Cornwall on our one-day virtual conference! Take a look below for a selection of photos over the last 10 years! Martyn Alvey (CCFF Chair at the time of this Conference, Martin Eddy, Roy Taylor and Kevin Barnes shared their memories of the last 10 years in our first talk of the day.




'Congratulations on organising an excellent and very successful conference under difficult conditions. Very well done!'
'Thanks everyone, very informative'

Lostwithiel Community Flood Group

Celebrating their tenth anniversary in November 2020, we were joined by Flood Group Coordinator Karen and Flood Wardens Annie, Sandra and Julie. Together they shared their remarkable journey with us, past, present and future.

This presentation is a must see for any other Flood Groups just starting out…

Here are the Lostwithiel Community Flood Group in action responding to storms Ciara and Dennis earlier this year!



Q: Is there a document that you have produced that outlines the roles and responsibilities of a Flood Warden?

A: Yes, we provide a series of training guides all of which outline the roles and responsibilities of Flood Wardens. You can find more information here.

Q: Who covers insurance for Flood Wardens?

A: Town or Parish Councils usually provide insurance cover for Flood Groups, but there are exceptions to this. More information is available here.

Q: What type of radios are the flood wardens using?

A: We ran a poll on our social media pages and the results are below.

Q: Do you work with CORMAC highlighting drains etc. that need maintenance?

A: All of Cornwall’s Flood Groups are encouraged and supported to report any concerns regarding drainage and sewerage infrastructure to the appropriate authority. To report urgent problems where there are large areas of standing water, or where the road is impassible and is causing a safety hazard, or where water from the highway is flooding an adjacent property, please telephone 0300 1234 222 (24-hour service) giving details of the location. You can also report issues online via Cornwall Council 

To report an emergency with your water or sewerage supply call 0344 346 2020 (24-hour service). South West Water are responsible for maintaining public sewers and will attend within four hours to unblock the sewer, free of charge. If you are the homeowner, you are responsible for unblocking private sewers and drains. More information can be found here.


"Many thanks Lostwithiel Community Flood Group for all your excellent work, we are very grateful for all your hard work"

Local Flood Risk Update

Dave Watkins provided us with a 2020 update from the Lead Local Flood Authority and also presented to us about the flood you weren’t thinking about- Tsunami!



Q: Has Cornwall ever experienced a Tsunami?

A: Cornwall actually experienced a tsunami in 1755, following the Lisbon earthquake, and again as recently as 2011 (known as a meteotsunami). William Borlase (1758) gave a vivid account of a tsunami observed in Mount’s Bay in 1755, which you can read courtesy of the Penwith Local History Group,…

The UK is also now part of the North-Eastern Atlantic, Mediterranean and connected seas Tsunami Information Centre.


"Talking Tsunami/ 1755 - it doesn't get any better than this. CCFF conference rocks again!"
"Many thanks for this superb presentation on future risk for Cornwall and Isles of Scilly"
"That was brilliant - thank you so much"
"This is so brilliant! Thanks everyone"

Linking Upper & Lower Catchments

Widening our vision to look across the whole catchment offers a perspective that has positive opportunities for habitats, nature and communities whilst contributing to flood and drought resilience. Mark’s presentation introduced the work of Cornwall’s Catchment Partnership and gives some insight into using catchment scale natural approaches to achieve resilience whilst improving our natural environments.

To understand we need to take integrated holistic approaches going forward, so whole catchment approaches are both the challenge and the opportunity. Whether it be planting trees, connecting nature or improving our soils they all contribute to the carbon and climate challenges as well as that of flood and drought resilience.

Individually it is important to think about how our own lifestyles might influence what happens in the wider catchment particularly in the way we influence the utilisation of resources. We need to embrace more sustainable practices and the way we approach our consumption of water, food, energy etc in support of more regenerative production methods.

This images essentially shows that when you bury a pair of 100% cotton undies in the soil the rate at which microbial action, beetles and other creatures chop away at the organic matter is a good ready reckoner of soil health. The faster the degradation the healthier the soil, the healthier the soil, from a flood and drought resilience perspective, the better its ability to attenuate water amongst a broad range of additional benefit.


Audio Presentation


Q: Can I recommend that CCFF and CPP members visit the Cornwall Beaver Project soon? The beavers have now created 4 dams this autumn which is further increasing attenuation.

A: CCFF have previously held visits to the Cornwall Beaver Project in Ladock for our Trustees and Members. You can view a video of our last visit here. Keep an eye out for future visits (when it is safe to do so!).



'Great talk- thank you!'
'Natural Flood Management requires commitment from all of us in society. We can share the cost, it would be much cheaper than paying for the clean-up'.

Property Flood Resilience (PFR)

We have 3 PFR Presentations for you in this section.

Mary Dhonau

Mary Dhonau ‘Queen of Floods’ presented ‘Positive stories of property flood resilient adaptations’. Mary has been flooded herself on many occasions, and has extensive experience in supporting and advising the victims of flooding during their recovery.

Mary is co-author of the Homeowners Guide to Flood Resilience, the Business Guide to Flood Resilience, the Homeowners Guide to Flood Recovery and the 4-Step guide to preparing a Household Emergency Plan; as well as being one of the leads for the ‘Property Resilience Round Table’.

In 2017 Mary project managed the Cumbria Flood Resilience Showcase Project, which won the Environment Agency’s ‘Project Excellence Award for Climate Adaptation and Resilience’. Mary has recently published a widely acclaimed EMag, which features the adaptations homeowners and businesses have made to their properties to make them more resilient to future floods.

She was awarded an OBE for Services to the Environment in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list in 2009. In December 2014 she was awarded a HonRICS. Mary was also given the ‘Voice of the Customer ‘award at the CII Public Interest Awards 2015 and an Honorary Doctorate from the University of the West of England in July 2015, before being made an Honorary Fellow of CIWEM in May 2017.


South West Property Flood Resilience Pathfinder Project

The DEFRA funded South West Property Flood Resilience (PFR) Pathfinder Project has been set up to increase awareness of PFR across Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. The project will support flood risk communities, promote the new PFR framework and enhance the future uptake of PFR as a key part of flood risk management in the South West.

The project is being delivered with support from the Environment Agency, the Lead Local Flood Authorities in the South West and a range of strategic and delivery partners. This will strengthen the ability of community groups, businesses and individuals in the South West to increase their resilience to flooding.

BeFloodReady has been developed during the initial stages of the Pathfinder and aims to create a legacy after the project has finished. As part of this initiative, the BeFloodReady website is now live where you can find a range of resources and information. A PFR tour, visiting communities at risk, is also in development and a range of workshops and events will be held to raise awareness around flood risk, PFR and the importance of preparedness.

If you have any questions or would like to receive further information, please get in touch with us!



Louisa Inch

Louisa from Premier Water Solutions (an Environmental, Water and Drainage Consultants) gave a fantastic presentation covering the impacts of flooding, insurance and the Code of Practice and sources of flooding with examples from St Ives to Venice!

Louisa and Mike then gave an interesting virtual demonstration of various PFR products from Louisa’s kitchen table! You will be able to watch this demonstration once the video becomes available, so please check back here soon.


Automatic Flood Barrier Demonstration

In September 2020, our Officer and one of our Trustees attended a virtual demonstration of  an automatic flood barrier in Falmouth. The purpose of this demonstration was to create awareness of a fully automatic flood barrier system designed and developed in Cornwall. The objective was to demonstrate the viability of the concept as a solution to containing flood water, with a desired outcome to gain government support to fund the project to the next stage of manufacture, kite test marking, and on site installation. The meeting was also attended by Cherylin Mackrory MP and Scott Mann MP and many more. You can click on the PDF document to read more, and if you have any questions please do not hesitate to get in touch.


Q: With the widely acknowledged benefits of blue/green infrastructure, do you find that people are becoming more accepting of ‘living with water’ rather than keeping it buried in pipes and gullies ‘out of sight’?

A: Certainly! It appears there is a broader acceptance that floods happen, and with flooding set to increase, we need to learn how to live with water and adapt the way we live.


Q: When communities get flooded who are the organisations likely to be blamed for and why and what can we all do to raise awareness that we should all take responsibility?

A: Great question! We can use stories to help people connect ’emissions to flooding’- using video is important and looking at pictures and talking about the amazing jobs of individuals and communities have done.


Q: Would you only use or recommend kitemarked Property Flood Resilience products?

A: It is your choice as a homeowner which products you choose to install, however, we always recommend using a kitemarked product as the kitemark process is thorough and ensures your product is fit for purpose. <You can read more about kitemarked products and the new Code of Practice here>.


Q: Why is the use of traditional sandbags cautioned?

A: There is a variety of reasons why agencies and organisations caution against the use of traditional sandbags. These range from contamination risk, costly disposal and misunderstanding of use. You can find out more in our sandbags guide here. We encourage the use of kitemarked and reusable Property Flood Resilience products and installations. You can find examples of products and much more information on the new BeFloodReady website.


'Many thanks to all the PFR Pathfinder team for all your good work, very much appreciated!'
'Well done!! Premier Water Solutions on yet another PFR conference great job'
'Fascinating, thank you!'

TEVI – Presented by Dave Rymer

Tevi (Cornish for ‘grow’) is a unique and exciting EU-funded venture running until 2021 which aims to do two things, simultaneously; create both economic and environmental growth in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

Dave joined us at the conference to encourage small and medium-sized enterprises across the county to access Tevis’s support to help enterprises become more efficient with their natural resource use, and to minimise their waste in smart and innovative ways as part of the global transition towards a circular economy.

The work is led by the University of Exeter, and is delivered in partnership with the Cornwall Wildlife Trust, Cornwall Council and the Cornwall Development Company.



Well done Tevi for helping SME's to be more environmentally sustainable. The more SME's do for the environment the better it is for business and their bottom line.

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