Press release

Exeter flood defence scheme works to start in Exwick

How playing fields will be affected during construction of the second phase of Exeter's flood defence scheme.

Aerial shot of tidal defence walls being built along the River Exe in Exeter
Construction of the Exeter flood defence scheme on the River Exe

Work gets underway on a new flood embankment around Exwick playing fields next week (5 September).

The work, which aims to reduce flood risk to properties behind the playing fields, is part of the second phase of Exeter’s flood defence scheme.

Two out of the three playing fields will remain open during the works but the third playing field, which is closest to the health centre, will be used to stockpile material and provide onsite facilities until the embankment is complete. Although the construction is expected to be completed by spring 2017, the playing field will need to be kept out of use until it is restored to its previous condition.

Work will be carried out in stages and to help deliver these, contractor BMM will need to access the playing fields from several locations. For this reason, part of the footpath along the edge of the playing fields will be closed at different times.

A letter explaining what is happening has gone out to around 500 residents living close to the playing fields and signs will be erected around the site as work progresses.

Exeter City Council owns the playing fields. Councillor Rachel Sutton, Lead Councillor for City Development, said:

To minimise disruption to residents, work has specifically been timetabled to start after children have returned to school at the end of the summer holidays.

Stockpiling material in one playing field will minimise vehicle movements across the city as all construction material will be on site.

Phase 2 of Exeter’s £32 million scheme, which started in July, aims to reduce flood risk to 3,200 homes and businesses. Work is progressing well, with 25,000 tonnes of material already being moved from Bromham’s Farm to Cowley field.

Investigation work has been carried out at the Quay to check the precise location of utilities such as power cables and gas pipes. Construction work on new demountable flood defences will then start in November – avoiding the busy summer season. By Christmas, work will also have begun around Bonhay Road and Okehampton Road.

Phase 1 of the scheme got underway in 2014 and saw construction work just downstream of Exeter Quay. The Trew’s flood relief channel and the side spill weir at the top of the channel have been lowered. This increased the flow capacity of the flood relief channel, which will help reduce flood risk during high river flows. The check weir at the downstream end of the flood relief channel will be removed later in 2016 to increase flow capacity further.

Exeter City Council and Devon County Council each contributed £3 million to the scheme. £6 million has come from government growth funding and the remainder is being funded by flood defence grant in aid.

The project offices are located in Bromham’s field. People are welcome to visit the offices if they have any questions or would like to meet the site team.

News about Exeter flood defence scheme will be shared via:

For further information contact the project team by calling 07769 162338 or emailing

Published 31 August 2016