Agency responds to Exmouth flood risk fears

PUBLISHED: 10:00 16 January 2017

Exmouth sea front towards Dawlish Warren. Ref P8491-10-10AW. Picture: Alex Walton.

Exmouth sea front towards Dawlish Warren. Ref P8491-10-10AW. Picture: Alex Walton.


Environmental chiefs have insisted work to shore up Dawlish Warren will not cause increased flood risk to Exmouth.

The Environment Agency (EA) has responded to concerns raised by Exmouth resident Geoff Morris, who wrote to the Journal to say the new scheme would have knock-on effects for Exmouth.

Mr Morris suggested that if the Dawlish Warren works were not carried out and the warren was allowed to be breached, expensive new flood defences planned for Exmouth might not be needed.

He said: “I have been watching the erosion at the back of the warren for some time, reasoning that if the warren was breached, less water would flow along Exmouth’s foreshore, which would result in less scouring of sand from our beaches.

“More residual sand and less water flowing past would mean a reduced tidal surge onto Exmouth’s sea defences during high tides and south westerly storms. Thus, if the river breaches the warren, it is quite possible that we will not need the prohibitively expensive flood defences work currently planned for Exmouth’s seafront.”

Works on Dawlish Warren have been ongoing for several years, but work on the main phase of the project begins this month.

An EA spokesman said: “If the [Dawlish Warren] defences were to fail, it would increase the risk of flooding and damage from wave action to estuary communities, such as Dawlish Warren village, Starcross, Lympstone and Exmouth, and the main rail line.

“A detailed computer model was developed to show any impact the works may have on Exmouth and elsewhere.

“The model and results, which were reviewed by an independent expert, confirmed there would be negligible increase in flood risk to Exmouth.

“Dawlish Warren spit helps to reduce the impacts of storms on Exmouth. Allowing Dawlish Warren to breach along the neck and distal section would not reduce flood risk to Exmouth.”

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