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Flood defence plans put out for public scrutiny

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: December 07, 2013

By Andy Greenwood, WMN Chief Reporter, Twitter: @Hackintheshack

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Papers documenting the environmental impact of the first phase of Exeter's £26 million flood defence scheme have been published.

The project, jointly funded by the Environment Agency, Exeter City Council and Devon County Council, will ultimately reduce the risk of flooding for more than 3,200 homes and businesses.

Work on the first phase is due to start next year, with the second stage of work being completed within three years.

The published environmental statement describes what is being done to minimise impact and improve the local environment during the initial phase of the works.

The proposed improvement works to the flood defence on the River Exe are between the Exe railway bridge and Ducks Marsh.

The phase one works will include the removal of vegetation near the Exe railway bridge and reducing the level of Trews Weir to allow more floodwater into the relief channel.

The channel will be lowered to increase capacity, while a new meandering ditch will be cut though its centre. A series of scrapes and shallow ponds, either side of the new ditch, will also be created and planted with reeds and rushes.

George Arnison, from the Environment Agency, said: "We need to start the first phase of work in early 2014 as some work, like vegetation clearance, needs to be done at specific times of year to minimise the disturbance to the natural environment.

"Before work starts, the partnership will be talking to people who are likely to be affected during the work, to find out how it will affect them and what could be done to minimise disruption.

"The plans for the second phase of work are currently being developed. People will be asked for their views on these designs before summer 2014."

The statement will be available for 28 days for people to comment on in relation to the environmental effects of the improvement works.

The Environment Agency, Exeter City Council and Devon County Council will use the environmental statement, and the comments it receives, to assess the effects of the work on the environment and inform their final decision about whether – and how – the work should proceed.

Copies of the statement and non-technical summary can be seen on the Environment Agency website at environment-agency.gov.uk/exeter.

Designs for phase two of the scheme are still being developed. The project is expected to be completed in late 2017.

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