Residents of Shaldon and Ringmore in Devon will celebrate the official opening at 1pm on Friday, 1July 1 of the town’s £8.3 million flood defence scheme.
The event marks the end of seven years work by the Environment Agency and its contractors, Interserve, who have provided Shaldon with a tailor-made scheme. The project includes a number of ground-breaking engineering techniques.
There is no recent history of flooding in Shaldon or Ringmore but there have been two recent near misses in October 2004 and March 2008.
The scheme will reduce the risk of tidal flooding to 453 homes and businesses in Shaldon and Ringmore. Construction started in January 2010 and was completed in May 2011.
It is the first example of Building Trust with Communities, the Environment Agency’s approach to public engagement.
The Parish Council will operate the flood gates with 40 volunteer flood wardens providing local ownership and operation of the scheme.
Shaldon and Ringmore are adjoining villages at the mouth of the Teign Estuary in South Devon. The cottages and Georgian houses front the beach and foreshore with narrow lanes and alleyways. The local character comes from the obvious connections with the estuary, which also brings the extreme tidal flooding risk.
The flood risk area is a ‘basin’ behind existing informal defences with a current standard of protection of 1 in 17, overtopping would quickly fill up the area. Before the defences were built 453 properties were at risk of flooding.
Work started in January 2010 when the Environment Agency’s contractors moved into Shaldon to begin construction by raising 940 metres of existing foreshore walls, building 470 metres of new foreshore wall, installing ten floodgates and 25 flood windows and doors together with steps and ramps at specific locations. A pump station and outfall have also been included to resolve surface water issues.
Funding for the scheme came from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) through the South West Regional Flood Defence Committee.
The scheme has won two national awards, a Silver Considerate Contractor Award for the considerate manner in which the works were carried out and an Environment Agency award for Exemplar Safety, Health and Environment Performance. Only four national awards of this level are awarded each year.