Phase Three of scheme will move forwards once Network Rail has approved technical plans

Progress is being made on Phase 3 of East Devon District Council’s Flood Alleviation Scheme for Feniton.

The council and its rail consultants, WSP, met in September with Network Rail to review the outline design, construction and maintenance methodology for the next phase of the project, which will involve placing a 1m diameter pipe (approximately 3 feet) beneath the railway to the east of the village.

This is part of the rigorous safety process that the council must submit to Network Rail in order to gain their permission for construction of Phase 3.  The requirements, which are to ensure the safety of the railway during and after construction, have been made more onerous following a derailment of a freight train caused by an under-track crossing elsewhere.

Network Rail has been presented with detailed technical information prepared by WSP, which explains the need for the crossing, the alternatives and provides structural and geotechnical information to prove how the railway and the trains running on it will not be put at risk.

In principle, Network Rail is happy with the submission and has made minor comments on some of the technical details and drawings provided. These will be addressed by WSP before the final document is submitted shortly to Network Rail for formal sign off.

Once the first stage of approvals are complete, the council together with WSP and Network Rail’s in-house contractor will be able to begin planning the dates for the works to take place and booking the necessary slots in the rail timetable to carry out the work.

Our ecologists from Blackdown Environmental will be out on site around the village updating their surveys in advance of works under the railway and main scheme.

East Devon District Councillor Susie Bond, ward member for Feniton and Buckerell, said: “It’s fantastic news that Phase 3 of the long-awaited Feniton flood alleviation scheme is now moving forwards rapidly and I’m looking forward to hearing that Network Rail has approved the technical plans. Phase 4 will see completion of the scheme, which will be welcomed by the community. An immense vote of thanks must go to the East Devon engineers who have worked so tirelessly on behalf of the residents of the village.”

Councillor Tom Wright, East Devon District Council’s portfolio holder for the environment, said:

Maintaining momentum for this phase of the flood alleviation project has not been easy, as we have been in ongoing discussions with Network Rail over how best to manage risks to the rail network. Laying the culvert beneath the railway line is an extremely complex issue and there have been a number of technical hurdles, which have had to be overcome. Obviously the safety of the trains that will be using the track is absolutely essential and we have been working hard with Network Rail to manage the risks. A great deal of credit must go to former Cllr Bowden for his energy and persistence in negotiating with Network Rail.