UK: Work to Start on First Phase of Exeter Flood Defence Scheme

The first phase of Exeter’s £30 million flood defence scheme will begin next month with improvements to the main flood relief channel.

When finished the new scheme will reduce flood risk to approximately 3,000 homes and businesses throughout the city.

The Environment Agency and its partners, Devon County Council and Exeter City Council, will also be holding a series of public exhibitions to seek people’s views about the designs for phase two of the scheme between 11 July and 19 July at various locations around Exeter.

The contract for phase 1 of the work has been awarded to Team Van Oord who will initially set up a site compound and storage area in the Riverside Valley Park and on Bromham’s Farm playing field.

Phase 1 will include deepening the existing flood relief channel, lowering the spill weir at the top of Trew’s flood relief channel and removing a ‘check weir’ at the bottom of the channel. These works will increase the flow capacity of the main flood channel.

Large dumper trucks will be used to remove excavated material from the flood relief channel. The material will be temporarily stored on Bromham’s Farm playing field then re-used during phase two of the project. This will help reduce construction traffic bringing in new material.

Other improvements include the construction of a meandering stream through the centre of the flood relief channel, construction of fish passes on Trew’s weir plus a low level pedestrian access across the middle of the flood relief channel.

George Arnison for the Environment Agency said: “The works will cause some disruption, but we hope people will understand why we need to carry out the work in order to reduce flood risk to people and properties in Exeter.”

Steps taken to minimise disruption include:

  • continued public access to the ‘island’ between the River Exe and the Trew’s flood relief channel during construction;
  • allotment users will still be able to access their plots;
  • the footpath and cycle path alongside Trew’s flood relief channel will remain open. However, there will be some unavoidable delays due to lorry movements across the path. Before this work begins, signs will be erected directing people to alternative routes alongside Exeter Canal.

Work on phase 2 is planned to start in Autumn 2015. Designs for the second phase are still being finalised. The Environment Agency and its partners are planning exhibitions in July to share the latest plans with people and seek their views on the proposals.

Cllr Andrew Leadbetter, Devon County Council Cabinet member for Economy and Growth said: “Public consultation played an important part in informing the initial stage of this project which is vital to our city’s homes and businesses. We are hoping for an equally positive response to these further consultation events.”

The scheme will cost approximately £30 million with a contribution of £3 million each from Exeter City Council and Devon County Council plus £6 million of government growth funding. The remainder will be financed from flood defence grant in aid.

Press Release, July 1, 2014

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