Press release

Work begins on Exeter Flood Defence Scheme

The first phase of Exeter’s £30 million flood defence scheme has begun this week with works to deepen the Trew’s flood relief channel.

When finished the new scheme will reduce flood risk to approximately 3,000 homes and businesses throughout the city.

Phase one will include deepening the existing flood relief channel, lowering the spill weir at the top of Trew’s flood relief channel and removing the ‘check weir’ at the bottom of the channel. These works will increase the flow capacity of the flood relief channel.

Large dumper trucks will be used to remove excavated material from the flood relief channel. The material will be temporarily stored on Bromham’s Farm playing field, close to the construction site compound. The material will then be re-used during phase two of the project. This will help reduce construction traffic bringing in new material.

Other improvements include the construction of a meandering stream through the centre of the flood relief channel, construction of fish passes on Trew’s weir and a low level pedestrian access across the middle of the flood relief channel.

George Arnison for the Environment Agency, said:

There will be a lot of heavy machinery arriving on site and this will cause some disruption, but we hope people will understand why we need to carry out the work in order to reduce flood risk to people and properties in Exeter. We will do all we can to minimise the disruption.

Steps taken to minimise disruption include:

  • Continued public access to the ‘island’ between the River Exe and the Trew’s flood relief channel during construction.
  • Allotment users will still be able to access their plots
  • The footpath and cyclepath alongside Trew’s Flood Relief Channel will remain open. However, there will be some unavoidable delays due to dumper truck movements across the path. Signs have been placed to direct people to alternative routes alongside Exeter Canal.

George Arnison added:

Construction sites are dangerous, this is why fencing has been installed around the site to keep the public separate from construction vehicles and equipment. When the work is completed the fencing will be removed and the soil storage area will be reinstated as a field.

Cllr Rachel Sutton, Exeter City Council’s Lead Councillor for City Development, said:

I am delighted that work has begun on this important defence for the city. The scheme will protect homes and businesses in Exeter and also bring some improvements to the area to enhance wildlife diversity in a beautiful part of Exeter that is much loved and very well used.

Councillor Andrew Leadbetter, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Economy and Growth and Cabinet Liaison for Exeter, said:

This is an important first step in this scheme and we’re pleased to see work underway. The new defences are vital to the economy of Exeter and it will provide flood relief to hundreds of householders and businesses in the city.

The Environment Agency and its partners, Devon County Council and Exeter City Council have already held a series of public exhibitions to seek people’s views about the designs for phase two of the scheme.

Work on phase two is planned to start in Autumn 2015 and the designs are still being worked on but people can stay up-to-date with the latest plans for the scheme by visiting and searching for Exeter Flood. Anyone can share their views with the project team by emailing or writing to Exeter Flood Defence Scheme, Manley House, Kestrel Way, Exeter, EX2 7LQ.

The scheme will cost approximately £30 million with a contribution of £3 million each from Exeter City Council and Devon County Council plus £6 million of government growth funding. The remainder will be financed from flood defence grant in aid.