River Otter plan: ‘Low risk’ of pollution

PUBLISHED: 10:00 30 November 2015

23-05-0399SH Otter Estuary

23-05-0399SH Otter Estuary


The risk of ‘toxic’ landfill substances being released by plans to revamp the Otter Estuary is ‘low’, and more surveys will be carried out before anything is done, those behind the project have said.

Landowner Clinton Devon Estates and the Environment Agency are proposing to reintroduce tidal flooding to the river with the Lower Otter Restoration Project.

Writing to the Journal, readers Lynne and Ian Wycherley have raised concerns about the landfill, and the effect the scheme will have on South Farm Road.

Regarding the landfill, they say there is a risk of ‘tidal leaching of the highly toxic landfill’, as ‘many highly toxic substances were dumped liberally in the landfill at the heart of this scheme’.

In response, project manager Mike Williams said: “The Lower Otter Restoration Project has the potential to deliver significant environmental benefits, dealing with a legacy of problems and enabling more sustainable management of the lower Otter valley.

“The former landfill site is currently an unprotected liability that would be at risk if the embankments failed accidentally.

“There is little real information on what materials were deposited at the site.

“In the 40 years since the tip was last used, most mobile pollutants will have dissipated. There are no current pollution issues in the watercourses surrounding the site. Waste and contaminated land experts at the Environment Agency assess the risk as low and welcome the opportunity for planned erosion control and containment of the tipped contents.

“Surveys to assess the content, condition and stability of the tipped material and cap are planned.”

The Wycherleys have also raised concerns about the potential for South Farm Road to be cut off.

They say: “A longstanding, much-loved farm shop, residents and a host of Budleigh businesses will be devastated if their lifeline, South Farm Road, is neither raised, bridged, nor protected – as has been implied, repeatedly, by the proposers.

“Prized by all of us who use it to stroll/walk our dogs, I estimate this vital road, based on the maths, would be impassable twice-daily for several hours, and difficult for many more, around most high tides, destroying the businesses, and cruelly isolating part of our community, not all of whom can drive. Access to doctors, fire-engines etc would be diminished.”

In response, Mr Williams said: “Currently, the road floods when the River Otter spills into the floodplain and overtops the embankments to the north of the road.

“If the project goes ahead, or if the estuary banks breach accidentally, the road would frequently be covered at high tide.

“The timing, depth and duration of flooding would vary with each tide.

“We are seeking advice and guidance from Devon County Council, the highway authority, and we are investigating how the effects of flooding might best be mitigated, as well as securing alternative access routes.”

Other News Stories

An Exmouth M.E. sufferer brought to tears by comments made towards her on a recent shopping trip says more education is needed about ‘invisible’ illnesses.

Read more

Exmouth police have moved to quash rumours that their town HQ is not being used.

Read more
Yesterday, 17:00

A judge has questioned why it has taken more than two years to prosecute a charity volunteer who was found with child abuse images on his computer.

Read more
Yesterday, 17:00

A traffic order banning campervans and motorhomes from parking overnight on part of Exmouth seafront has been approved.

Read more
Yesterday, 15:27

Exmouth’s recycling centre has been evacuated after a chemical was dumped on the site this afternoon.

Read more
Yesterday, 12:00

An Exmouth Slimming World consultant who completed the London Marathon said it was a case of ‘mind over legs’.

Read more
Yesterday, 09:44

Police are saying that there is heavy traffic after a two-vehicle incident blocked the B3178 near East Budleigh this morning (Wednesday, April 25).

Read more
Yesterday, 07:14

Firefighters from three towns attended the incident at Douglas Avenue

Read more
Tue, 11:03

Time is running out to vote for a cause you would like to see benefit from funding raised at Exmouth Kite Festival.

Read more
Mon, 17:00

Project leaders behind an ambitious multi-million-pound realignment of the River Otter have expressed their disappointment at a failed funding bid.

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 13°C

min temp: 7°C

Most Read News

Useful Links

Advertise in the Paper
Submit a Story
Subscriptions Order
Photo Orders
Family notices
Google Plus
Reader Travel

Read Online

Read the Exmouth Journal e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Local business directory

Exmouth's trusted business finder

Show Job Lists

Find planning applications