Surveys to start for new Exmouth tidal defence scheme

Preparations for a new tidal defence scheme in the Devon town of Exmouth are underway, with a series of surveys taking place during the coming months.

The need for a new tidal defence scheme for the town was initially identified as part of a flood risk management strategy for the whole of the Exe Estuary.. Approximately 1,400 residential and 400 commercial properties are at risk from tidal flooding in Exmouth – many of which are considered to be at ‘significant’ risk.

The Environment Agency has been working with East Devon District Council to develop the scheme since 2015, culminating in the approval of £12 million of Government funding in September 2017.

The scheme will be delivered by Kier, working as part of Team Van Oord and on behalf of the Environment Agency and East Devon District Council.

The Team Van Oord project team is currently working on an outline design covering three areas:

  • Area A – on the estuary side of Exmouth. This will involve raising flood defences between the Withycombe Brook and the Imperial recreation ground.
  • Area B – around the ‘gut’. This will involve raising 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.

The project team will also carry out a series of surveys across the three areas, including:

  • 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)

Following the surveys, designs for the scheme will be progressed after which a planning application will be submitted to the local authority.

Should planning permission be granted this year, construction would start in early 2019 – some work may also be possible before the end of this year if the relevant consents are in place.