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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/exmouth-tidal-defence-scheme/exmouth-tidal-defence-scheme
The Environment Agency is currently meeting landowners and residents believed to be most affected by the project.
Representatives from the project team, the Environment Agency’s contractor Team Van Oord (TVO) and/or Environment Agency staff will be in and around Exmouth over the coming weeks.
A planning application for the scheme has been submitted to the planning authority East Devon District Council.
The Environment Agency has completed various surveys in and around Exmouth. These have taken place across Areas A, B and C, and included:
- topographic surveys (accurate recording of ground levels)
- bathymetric surveys (accurate recording of the sea bed)
- Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) surveys (a technique that helps to identify utility services and other underground objects)
- property surveys (to establish possible flow routes into property)
Apart from a select few sites where some extra survey information is required, the Environment Agency now has detailed information about the site.
The Environment Agency’s contractor, TVO, who are designing and building the project, has been reviewing the GPR results, and is now looking to positively identify exactly what is underground in a number of areas. This will involve digging small trial pits in a number of areas across Exmouth. The works are small in scale and shouldn’t take long, and any disruption will be kept to a minimum.
Approximately 1,400 residential and 400 commercial properties are at risk from tidal flooding in Exmouth.
The need for a new tidal defence scheme for Exmouth was initially identified as part of a flood risk management strategy for the whole of the Exe Estuary. The Environment Agency has been working in collaboration with East Devon District Council since 2015 to develop the scheme and the business case for funding; this culminated in approval of £12 million of government funding in September 2017.
East Devon District Council is also contributing to the project, and will maintain the defences built on council-owned land in the future.
Following analysis of possible flood scenarios for today, and in the future, it was recommended that Exmouth’s existing defences should be improved in the short term.
After gathering feedback from local public consultation in 2016, the Environment Agency concluded that flood risk should be reduced from the current 1-in-25-year risk (4% chance of flooding in any year) to 1-in-200-year (0.5% chance).
The impacts of climate change and sea level rise were included in the Environment Agency’s analysis.
Following a review of the outline design and consultation feedback, the Environment Agency believes the best approach is to build improved defences today that can be easily improved again in the future. Analysis showed that the next ‘intervention’ for further flood defence improvements may be needed by the year 2045.
Design and consultation
Team Van Oord (TVO) were awarded the design and build contract for the Exmouth tidal defence scheme in October 2017.
The contractors are working on the design, which includes 3 areas:
- Area A – on the estuary side of Exmouth; it will involve raising flood defences between the outfall of the Withycombe Brook and the Imperial recreation ground.
- Area B – around the ‘gut’; there will be raised defences between the Imperial recreation ground and Camperdown Terrace.
- Area C – involves the seafront, including the Esplanade from Mamhead slipway in the west, to between the clock tower and Premier Inn to the east. Works will include strengthening the existing seawall, and new set-back defences along the landward side of the Esplanade. This will mean that areas of the Esplanade and highway will still be inundated during storms, however flood water will be stopped from flowing down nearby roads by the new defences.
Should planning permission be granted this year, the Environment Agency aims to start construction in early 2019. Some work may be able to start earlier if the relevant consents are in place.
The Environment Agency will work with East Devon District Council, and listen to the feedback from residents, businesses and others who are interested during the design and construction phases. The Environment Agency will programme work to minimise disruption as much as possible.
Until the scheme is built, Exmouth remains at a high risk of flooding. However plans are in place, such as our flood warning service, should tidal and weather conditions combine to present a flood risk.
For further information email firstname.lastname@example.org, Project Manager.