Addressing tidal flood concerns
PUBLISHED: 07:10 11 April 2014
Here at Clinton Devon Estates we read with interest the front page article “Tidal flood plan causes concern” (Budleigh Journal, March 27).
Unfortunately it contains some statements that may cause unnecessary concern to local residents and we are keen to clarify the position.
The embankments that were built to reclaim almost three quarters of the estuary in 1814 actually impede flood flows down the valley, raising levels upstream.
In addition, once water overtops the banks it is often trapped behind them, leading to prolonged flooding such as that seen recently at the cricket club.
There is no possibility that any project to modify the way that water passes down the valley would be allowed to proceed if it increased flooding.
Any such proposal requires a flood risk assessment to be completed, which will be scrutinised by the Environment Agency and could only receive consent if it demonstrates no increased flood risk.
Further, the mouth of the Otter estuary, prior to the land reclamation, was a very similar size to that seen today.
We know this from the original maps drawn by James Green in 1809, which remain in our archive. This indicates that significant adjustment of the mouth following realignment is unlikely.
Finally, we are keen to ensure that the footpaths around the estuary, which include some of the most popular in Devon, remain available for use and, indeed, are improved if possible.
By contrast, should an accidental breach occur, it is quite possible that the footpath might be lost permanently given the significant cost of ongoing repairs.
Clinton Devon Estates will continue to develop its plans for the lower Otter valley in consultation with a range of stakeholders and expects to be in a position to hold some public engagement events during summer 2014.
We would encourage interested people to come along, find out what we have in mind and contribute to our planning.
Lower Otter Restoration Project Manager
Clinton Devon Estates
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