Devon County Council pledges £3 million for Exeter flood relief
Posted on: 10 October 2012
Devon County Council is to invest £3 million into a vital flood relief scheme for Exeter.
Devon’s Cabinet approved the contribution at its meeting today and agreed to press the Environment Agency to bring forward the projected start of the scheme from January 2017.
They also agreed to work with Exeter City Council to persuade other agencies and local businesses to contribute to the scheme to close a £6 million funding gap.
Councillors heard that efforts to accelerate the £25 million scheme were dependent on raising £12 million locally – £6 million of which has now come from Devon and Exeter councils.
That will be added to the £13 million national grant which the scheme is expected to attract.
The Cabinet said Devon would work with the Environment Agency and Exeter City Council to produce a ‘spade-ready’ plan which could attract earlier national funding.
Councillors watched an Environment Agency video which demonstrated how a 1 in 100-year rainfall event could produce flooding up to 1.8 metres deep along Okehampton Road, Alphington Road and Cowick Street.
St David’s Station, Marsh Barton and Renslade House would all be flooded.
In all 3,000 homes and 1,000 businesses would be affected.
Devon County Council’s deputy leader John Clatworthy said he had seen the effects of the flooding in the 1960s which had resulted in the present flood relief scheme being constructed.
That protected against a 1 in 40-year event, he said, and the time had come for an upgrade.
“We have just had out wettest summer and it’s becoming urgent,” he said.
“I have seen the effects of flooding and I think this is very important.
”We must get on with designing a detailed scheme and see where we can drive the costs down.”
The planned scheme would upgrade the city’s existing flood defences and add new flood banks, walls and other structures.
Cabinet Member for Exeter, Andrew Leadbetter, said: “The existing flood defences in Exeter have been severely tested recently by some of the exceptional rainfall we’ve had and the extreme flows in the River Exe.
“This is a critical scheme and it’s important we get on with it as quickly as possible.”
“We’ve all seen some of the terrible flooding there’s been in other parts of the country in recent weeks,” he said.
“We do not want to see that sort of devastation in Exeter.
“I think it’s really important for the whole city that these flood improvements start as soon as possible.
“We are working closely with the city council and the Environment Agency on this.
“The city council has already pledged £3 million towards the scheme and we must now seek contributions from our partners.”Posted in: Environment