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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/exmouth-tidal-defence-scheme/exmouth-tidal-defence-scheme
In February and March 2018 the Environment Agency will be carrying out a number of surveys in Exmouth. They have written to people who may be affected by the survey work.
The surveys will be taking place across Areas A, B and C and will include:
- topographic surveys (accurate recording of ground levels – please note that a small amount of grass/shrub clearance will take place in northern parts of Area A to enable access)
- bathymetric surveys (accurate recording of the sea bed)
- ground penetrating radar surveys (a technique that helps to identify utility services and other underground objects)
- property surveys (to establish possible flow routes into property)
Once this information has been processed the Environment Agency will progress designs and then share them with people to see what they think. Eventually, once the design has been suitably developed, the Environment Agency will be submitting a planning application to the local authority.
Approximately 1,400 residential and 400 commercial properties are at risk from tidal flooding in Exmouth. Many of these are considered to be at ‘significant’ flood risk at present.
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 people after a public consultation event 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 an outline design, which includes 3 areas:
- Area A – on the estuary side of Exmouth; it will involve raising flood defences between the Withycombe Brook and the Imperial recreation ground.
- Area B – around the ‘gut’; it will raise 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.
Over the coming months the project team, working with the designers from TVO, will be working on the detail of these designs. This will involve talking to residents, businesses, local people, council staff, other nearby developers, specialist interest groups and anyone else who has an interest in the area.
The Environment Agency will keep landowners informed of any environmental surveys and ground investigation works that are necessary.
The Environment Agency will need planning permission for the majority of the flood defence works and it’s anticipated that a planning application will be submitted to the planning authority later this year.
Should planning permission be granted this year, the Environment Agency aims to start construction in early 2019. Some work may be possible 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 local people during the design and construction phases. Where feasible, the Environment Agency will programme work to minimise disruption.
Until the scheme is built, Exmouth remains at a relatively high risk of flooding. However plans are in place should tidal and weather conditions combine to present a flood risk. For instance, the Environment Agency has access to temporary flood barriers that can be brought to site to reduce flood risk in Area C.
For further information email firstname.lastname@example.org, Project Manager.