Investigations along two-mile stretch of coastline

Investigative work to review the options for creating new flood defences in Exmouth is expected to start from Monday September 7.

The work is being carried out as part of the Exmouth Tidal Defence Study. East Devon District Council (EDDC) is working with the Environment Agency on this project, which is reviewing the options to upgrade Exmouth’s sea and estuary defences. The project aims to protect the estuary frontage, parts of the seafront and more than 1,000 properties in the town.

The partnership has commissioned WSP Consulting Engineers to carry out a flood risk management appraisal for new flood defences.  Approximately two miles of coastline will be assessed during the appraisal. The coastline being reviewed runs from the north at Withycombe Brook, south to Camperdown Creek and along the Esplanade, between Mamhead Slipway and the Clock Tower.

During the survey, contractors will be carrying out geotechnical investigative works on existing structures and ground conditions at the key locations. The works, which are expected to last for approximately two to three weeks, will include soil sampling and a number of boreholes will also be drilled.

The impact of the work on residents and businesses is hoped to be minimal. However, there will be unavoidable noise from intermittent drilling operations and it is unlikely that equipment will be stationed at any one location for more than a day.

As part of their work, WSP has also been tasked with preparing a business case to help secure Government funding for the flood defence scheme. Once the appraisal and detailed design has been approved, construction is anticipated to begin in 2017.

Cllr Jill Elson, an Exmouth district councillor and member of the council’s Cabinet, said:

These investigations are crucial in helping us make decisions on reducing Exmouth’s flood risk.  We need to determine what the best options are to safeguard homes and businesses in the town.

Cllr Eileen Wragg, who is also a Cabinet member and represents the Exmouth Town ward, added:

Flooding is something I take an active interest in as a member of the South West Regional Flood and Coastal Committee which covers Devon, Cornwall & the Isles of Scilly.

Until May this year, I also chaired the Exmouth Flooding & Land Drainage Working Group on the Town Council, so have learnt quite a lot, and am still learning! I remember the floods in 1960, when boats were rowed along streets in The Colony, rescuing people from upstairs windows! We wouldn’t like to see that again - some residents in The Colony can see water beneath their floorboards. Around £2m is being spent on protecting that area and the Esplanade at the town end of the seafront.

For further information on the work, please contact 01395 516551.