River Otter realignment could cost up to £40 million

PUBLISHED: 10:20 10 July 2017 | UPDATED: 10:20 10 July 2017

A view of salt marshes in the Lower Otter Estuary - the aim of the Lower Otter Restoration Project is to create more of these.

A view of salt marshes in the Lower Otter Estuary - the aim of the Lower Otter Restoration Project is to create more of these.

Archant

The cost of a project to secure the future of the Lower Otter Estuary could rise to as much as £40million, according to new plans.

One of the options put forward for the realignment of the section of river in Budleigh Salterton is to remove embankments to reintroduce tidal flooding to the estuary.

New river channels would be dug in its current flood plain; the cricket club and the South West Coastal Path would be relocated and the old municipal tip would also be completely removed.

According to a partnership managing the Lower Otter Restoration Project (LORP), this option is estimated to cost between £20million and £40million.

This was one of four options put forward by the partnership between landowner Clinton Devon Estates and the Environment Agency at a public consultation event in Budleigh this week.

Dr Sam Bridgwater, of LORP, said: “In coming up with the four options, we have ruled out a number of alternatives which are either impossible to fund, or the partners feel do not meet our requirement to safeguard the future of the estuary for the benefit of local people, wildlife and the environment. We have decided that doing nothing, or simply shoring up the existing embankment, are not sustainable solutions in the face of a rapidly changing climate.”

The other three options would see the old tip ‘partially’ removed and capped and the cricket club relocated.

Under option two, estimated to cost between £9million and £12million, the embankments would be removed, but there would not be a new river channel created.

The third option creates smaller breaches, allowing water to flow through. This may cost between £8million and £9million.

The final option, also estimated to cost between £8million and £9million, would see no work north of South Farm Road and instead one-way valves will be used to stop the flow of ‘salty water’ under the road.

Organisers are hoping to identify a preferred option this summer - with another public event earmarked for the autumn.

People can give their views on the options by visiting www.lowerotterrestorationproject.co.uk, or emailing mail@lowerotterrestorationproject.co.uk

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