Otter flooding project: funds to be sought

23-05-0399SH Otter Estuary

23-05-0399SH Otter Estuary - Credit: Archant

A controversial project which could see the Otter Valley flooded may have moved a step closer.

The Environment Agency’s (EA) national projects approvals service has given its backing to the business case put forward for the project to improve the Otter Estuary in Budleigh Salterton.

The preferred option, which will now be investigated by project stakeholders, is to breach embankments at two points on the river, allowing land owned by Clinton Devon Estates (CDE) to flood.

This option would also see Budleigh Salterton Cricket Club relocated, and a raised footpath created along South Farm Road.

The other options are to leave the estuary as it is or to build new sea defences.


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Dr Sam Bridgewater, nature conservation manager for CDE, said: “The Lower Otter Restoration Project is seeking to work with local people and other organisations to explore how we can best improve the Lower Otter and its estuary in the face of a rapidly changing climate, as the existing sea defences are starting to fail and become increasingly difficult to maintain.

“The approval by the Environment Agency of the business case means we are able to seek new sources of funding for the project.

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“This would allow us to undertake detailed investigations into a range of options to see if they would be socially, technically, environmentally and financially acceptable.”

Now that the business case has been accepted, project organisers are planning to apply for funding in the new year.

A stakeholder update for the project stated: “We have been developing our bid for funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and they are generally supportive.

“Our bid will go to the funding board in January, with a decision expected in March.”

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