Surveys pave the way for new tidal defence scheme

TVO exmouth EA

Image: Environment Agency

Preparations for a new tidal defence scheme in the Devon town of Exmouth are underway, with a series of surveys taking place during the coming months.

The scheme will be delivered by Kier, working as part of Team Van Oord and on behalf of the Environment Agency and East Devon District Council.

Approximately 1,400 residential and 400 commercial properties are at risk from tidal flooding in Exmouth – many of which are considered to be at ‘significant’ risk.

The need for a new tidal defence scheme for the town was initially identified as part of a flood risk management strategy for the whole of the Exe Estuary.

The Environment Agency has been working with East Devon District Council to develop the scheme since 2015, culminating in the approval of £12m of Government funding in September 2017.

The Team Van Oord project team is currently working on an outline design covering three areas:

  • Area A – on the estuary side of Exmouth. This will involve raising flood defences between the Withycombe Brook and the Imperial recreation ground.
  • Area B – around the ‘gut’. This will involve raising defences between the Imperial recreation ground and Camperdown Terrace.
  • Area C – involves the seafront, including the Esplanade from Mamhead slipway in the west, to between the clock tower and Premier Inn to the east. Works will include strengthening the existing seawall, and new set-back defences along the landward side of the Esplanade.

Over the coming months the project team will talk to local residents and businesses, and others with an an interest in the area, while working up the detail of the designs.

The project team will also carry out a series of surveys across the three areas listed above, including:

  • Topographic surveys (accurate recording of ground levels – please note that a small amount of grass/shrub clearance will take place in northern parts of Area A to enable access)
  • Bathymetric surveys (accurate recording of the sea bed)
    ground penetrating radar surveys (a technique that helps to identify utility services and other underground objects)
  • Property surveys (to establish possible flow routes into property)

Following these surveys, designs for the scheme will progressed and shared with the local community, after which a planning application will be submitted to the local authority.

Should planning permission be granted this year, construction would start in early 2019 – although some work may be possible before the end of this year if the relevant consents are in place.


19 February 2018