THE winter storms which battered the South West will be the focus of the Devon Maritime Forum’s Spring meeting on Tuesday May 13.

The meeting, which will be held at Plymouth Marine Laboratory, will examine the impact of the severe storms and the response to them.

It will also explore how to build resilience to the increasing risk of coastal flooding and erosion.

The meeting will provide an overview of how the recent storms impacted on Devon’s coastal landscape, communities, and key ‘sectors’ such as transport, tourism, fisheries, and how they were, and continue to be, affected by the winter storms.

Professor Ed Maltby, Chairman of the Devon Maritime Forum, said: “This winter’s storms caused an unprecedented amount of damage and disruption. With the likelihood that the occurrence of such extreme events will increase in future, we need to learn from the lessons of the experience and identify the most effective ways to cope with future extreme events.

"These storms have exposed the fragility of our current coastal protection and transport links and we have yet to find out the extent of possible effects on the health of the coastal and marine environment and the communities dependent on it.

"The Forum provides an opportunity for all those concerned to see how our communities can adapt and be more resilient in future.”

Among the speakers at the meeting will be Devon County Council coastal officer Aidan Winder, Network Rail route asset manager Mike Smith, Visit Devon chair Carolyn Custerson, Jim Portus from the South West Producer’s Organisation, and Dr Crystal Moore, head of the Flood Forecasting Centre partnership between the Met Office and Environment Agency.

The Forum will have the opportunity to hear first-hand accounts of how communities responded during the storms and how they are planning for future events. There will be discussion on how Devon’s coastal communities, businesses, land owners and individuals can acquire the necessary resilience and identify the resources to help coastal communities cope with and recover from extreme events.

The meeting, which will be held from 9:30am to 4:30pm, will also look at how partnerships like the Devon Maritime Forum can play a role in helping to build stronger more resilient coastal communities.

For more information on the Winter Storms event, the full meeting programme and registration detail go to or contact Steve Guilbert at or tel: 01392 383231.