Exe Estuary dredging work progressing quickly
PUBLISHED: 09:47 06 July 2017 | UPDATED: 09:47 06 July 2017
Major work in the Exe Estuary to protect nearly 3,000 properties from flooding is progressing ahead of schedule.
Around-the-clock dredging and recharging at Dawlish Warren – part of a £14million beach management scheme – has seen planned works to shore up the western end of the beach completed a month early.
The Environment Agency (EA) says the equivalent of 50 Olympic swimming pools full of sand have been pumped onto the beach at the Warren since the beginning of June and, as a result, the beach now boasts increased sand levels of up to three metres in places.
Once the scheme is complete, the EA says it will reduce the risk of flooding to more than 2,900 properties, including around 2,000 in Exmouth and Lympstone, and around 200 in Exton and Topsham.
Works will continue through the summer, with another 50 Olympic swimming pools worth of sand being placed on the eastern half of the beach. This part of the scheme is set to be completed by the end of August.
The trailing suction hopper dredger, the Mahury, which has been collecting sand from Pole Sands, will stay in situ until beach replenishment is complete.
Richard Cox, project manager for the EA, said: “The good news is we’ve completed the beach recharge at the western end of Dawlish Warren well ahead of our original schedule which tied in with the start of the summer holidays at the end of July.
“Once the scheme is complete we’ll have reduced the risk of flooding to more than 2,900 properties around the Exe Estuary.”
Work has also been carried out on groynes and stone-filled gabion baskets on the Warren, while work on a new ‘sandbag’ defence, designed to prevent the Warren being breached, is due to continue throughout the summer.
The main construction works are due to be finished by October.
Earlier this year, Exmouth resident Geoff Morris questioned whether, if the Warren were to be breached, this would in fact benefit Exmouth, with less water subsequently flowing alongside the town’s beaches, however the Environment Agency insisted its computer models showed the work was needed.
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