Press release

Work to start on second phase of £32 million Exeter flood defence scheme

Phase 2 of Exeter’s multi-million pound scheme to reduce flood risk to 3,200 homes and businesses gets underway next week.

The £32 million scheme, a partnership between the Environment Agency, Devon County Council and Exeter City Council, will see construction activity around the city over the next 2 years.

The Environment Agency is working with contractor BMM to minimise disruption and is encouraging those who live and work in Exeter to sign up to Exeter City Council’s email updates to find out what is happening and when.

Richard Cox for the Environment Agency said:

This is fantastic news for the city. Inevitably this will cause some disruption but we hope people understand we need to carry out this work to reduce flood risk to people and properties in Exeter. We will be building the new flood defences in a way which minimises disruption to those living, working and visiting here.

Construction work starts in the Countess Wear area of the city. In order to gain access here, a temporary track across Northbrook Golf Course is going to be built. This means that we can avoid using School Lane and Mill Road and will also reduce how many of our construction vehicles use Bridge Road. The land will be reinstated to its original condition when the work is completed in 2018.

Temporary fencing will also be put up through the Riverside Valley Park to separate vehicles from the public. This will allow the material excavated during phase 1 works (currently stored on Bromham’s Farm playing fields) to be transported to locations throughout Exeter where we are building new flood embankments. The majority of the park will remain open to the public during the work this summer.

Investigation work is also being 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.

Added Richard:

We recognise the Quay is a popular place for residents and visitors which is why we have been keen to plan our work to avoid the busiest time.

Steps we have taken to minimise disruption include:

  • accessing key areas outside of peak traffic hours to avoid contributing to local congestion
  • co-ordinating with other planned road works to reduce disruption
  • restricting hours of work to avoid noise disturbance
  • opting for single lane road closures rather than closing roads

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

We’re pleased that the next phase of the Exeter flood defence scheme is about to start, which will protect over 3,000 properties within the city limits when complete. Working together, the Environment Agency, Exeter City Council and Devon County Council have developed plans so that the scheme can be built with minimal disruption to residents and local businesses. Our council officers have been heavily involved with this next phase of the project to ensure the works are in keeping with the city. The success of partnership working has been seen within the first phase of the project which has provided a haven for people and wildlife within the Trew’s flood relief channel, whilst reducing flood risk to the Quay area.

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

The scheme has made excellent progress to date and every effort is being made to ensure that this next phase causes as little disruption as possible. The access road off the local highway network will reduce the amount of movements on our roads, which should help to keep Devon moving. The phase 2 work will ensure we have a flood defence scheme which will improve protection for homes and businesses in the city, which is why it was a priority for Devon County Council to invest £3 million in the scheme.

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 behind the changing rooms. 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: * subscribing to GovDelivery emails * @EnvAgencySW, @ExeterCouncil or @DevonCC using the hashtag #ExeterFDS * Flickr

For further information contact the project team by calling 07769 162338 or emailing ExeterFDS@environment-agency.gov.uk.