Soaring costs hit Exmouth anti-flood project

PUBLISHED: 12:30 08 August 2016 | UPDATED: 15:52 08 August 2016


A multi-million-pound scheme to improve Exmouth’s flood defences may have to be put on hold - due to increased costs.

Investigation works carried out on the project by the Environment Agency (EA) have discovered ‘more extensive works’ which need to take place.

This could mean the cost of the scheme to help reduce the risk of flooding to more than 1,400 homes in Exmouth could rise from around £4.3million to £16.5million.

Investigations have found that more extensive defences along the estuary footage are needed, as well as extra works at The Esplanade. The sea wall also needs strengthening.

The project had been due to start in January next year, but could be delayed by as much as three years until further funding is found.

Mrs Eileen Wragg, county councillor for Exmouth Littleham and town, is concerned by the delay.

She said: “This is really serious, as Exmouth is increasingly at risk of flooding from the sea, particularly since the storms of recent winters.”

Councillor Wragg also raised her concerns at the last Exmouth Town Council meeting. In response, councillors agreed to ask an Environment Agency representative to attend their next meeting and explain the situation.

Councillor Pauline Stott said: “I am really disappointed. We had the consultation and were told this was going forward. It seems now this is going backwards. I don’t think that’s good enough.”

The EA has submitted a bid for funds from a £350million national pot for flood defence schemes to allow work to start as scheduled.

An EA spokesman said: “Exmouth is an important scheme. It is in no one’s interest to see it delayed, given the large number of properties that will benefit from this scheme and be less at risk from tidal flooding. It may be the scheme can still continue as planned, but we will not know the outcome of this year’s funding allocation process until late September 2016.”

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