‘This doesn’t mean we can ignore climate change’ warning as Exmouth flood defences are finished at a cost of £12million

New £12million flood defences in Exmouth do not mean people can ‘ignore climate change’, a town representative has warned.

East Devon District Council (EDDC) and the Environment Agency have now completed the project which will protect more than 1,400 homes, writes Local Democracy Reporter Georgia Cornish.

The Exmouth Tidal Defence Scheme will safeguard more than 1,400 residential and 400 commercial properties.

It aims to reduce the town’s flood risk from the current one in 25 years to one in 200.

We have to deal with the real issue, we cannot just keep adapting…

Wall-strengthening and 26 new flood gates introduced over the past three years have cut the risk from a four per cent chance of flooding every year to 0.5 per cent.

Further improvements should not be needed before 2045.

Exmouth flood defences. Image: Environment Agency

Exmouth flood defences. Image: Environment Agency

Exmouth Town ward member Councillor Olly Davey welcomed the installation and said: “This shows the Environment Agency are taking sea levels rising seriously.

“However, this doesn’t mean we can ignore climate change. We have to deal with the real issue, we cannot just keep adapting”.

Cllr Geoff Jung, who represents Woodbury and Lympstone, added: “The protection of people’s houses, shops and businesses from flooding is a key objective of East Devon District Council`s initiative on combating the effects of climate change.”

The new gates will be operated by volunteers, while those on the Esplanade continue to be controlled by EDDC.

When the risk of flooding is high, volunteers will receive an alert from the Environment Agency’s flood warning team.

Although flood gates can be opened and closed by just two volunteers, the more that respond, the faster defences will be in place.

VIDEO: How £12million Exmouth Tidal Defence Scheme will protect 1,800 properties