‘Urgent’ work needed on Exmouth seawall to avoid ‘costly’ future damage

Exmouth sea wall

Exmouth sea wall - Credit: Archant

Urgent works need to be carried out on Exmouth’s sea defences to secure the future of nearby residential homes, roads and the Mamhead Slipway, a district council report has confirmed.

Exmouth seawall: damages in a do-nothing scenario

Exmouth seawall: damages in a do-nothing scenario - Credit: Archant

Recent investigations have shown that the seawall could be further damaged during the winter and there is the risk that serious structural damage could be caused in storm conditions.

If the works are not carried out, more than £6 million worth of ‘economic losses’ could be caused, a report to East Devon District Council (EDDC) reveals.

The report to the council said: “In the short term this will most likely affect the stability of the seawall, footway and slipway turning area.

“Damage would spread, potentially encompassing the road, the high pressure gas main, and residential properties. Over a 20 year period, economic losses in a do-nothing scenario are estimated at £6.7m.”

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At an EDDC full council meeting taking place on Wednesday (July 25), councillors are being asked to vote to implement the project that could cost £400,000.

The council is recommended to give its approval in order to halt further deterioration of the seawall and prevent damage to the nearby infrastructure.

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The report also says that works to investigate the ground beneath the seawall near the Mamhead Slipway have shown the material behind the piles is heavily saturated.

This means material from beneath the land and infrastructure behind will drift out in the event of failure of the toe piles, the report says.

Due to the slope of the estuary, the current rock retaining wall – or ‘revetment’ –would be replaced by a line of steel sheet piles set six metres off the base of the wall. The area between the seawall, and steel sheet piles would then be filled in with rock armour.

The entirety of the slipway would be closed during the works.

The report adds that as the site is within the Exe Estuary Special Area of Conservation, piling must be completed by the end of September as works which may disturb wintering birds.

Works would begin on September 4, with the piling completed before September 30 and the rock armour put in place in October.

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