Bude flood defence works … update

The Bude flood defence and river restoration scheme is a £2.1 million scheme to improve the existing flood alleviation scheme and restore the ecological potential of the River Neet between Whalesborough Weir and Pethericks Mill Nature Reserve.

Bude has a long history of flooding from the River Neet and Bude Canal, tidal surges and storm waves. Following an extreme flood event experienced during the 1950s, the Bude flood alleviation scheme was constructed. The scheme was later updated following a major fluvial flood in 1993.

The scheme has benefited from £2.1 million funding as part of the government’s £170 million fund to accelerate the delivery of flood risk management schemes nationally.

The Crescent flood defence and river restoration project will better protect the local community and economy from flood events, predicted to increase in the near future as a result of climate change.

The proposed work will strengthen the existing flood defences and provide a solid foundation for future scheme improvements, protecting 22 residential properties and 15 commercial and community properties along The Crescent and Ergue-Gaberic Way, between the River Neet and Bude Canal.

The proposals focus on the renewal of the flood defence along Ergue-Gaberic Way. This work includes the construction of a new flood wall on the landward face of the bank behind the existing roadside kerb.

The construction of the wall will require the removal of some of the roadside-facing existing bank and vegetation on the bank to facilitate the construction of the wall foundations. On completion of the construction along Ergue-Gaberic Way, the top of the bank will be replanted with a selection of native plant species to help improve habitat. The earth flood embankment to the rear of the tourist information centre will also be restored and maintenance access improved.

The river restoration element of the project focuses on the River Neet upstream of Bude between Whalesbourough Weir and Pethericks Mill Nature Reserve. The Water Framework Directive is a European directive which aims to protect and improve the water environment. Under the directive, the River Neet currently has moderate ecological potential, with a requirement to achieve good ecological potential by 2027.

Measures to improve the status of the watercourse have previously been considered and investigated by the River Restoration Centre. These include in-channel enhancements such as narrowing and creating pinch points, as well as tree planting, which will encourage channel morphological diversity and improvements in habitat quality for a range of species, primarily fish. As part of this element of the project, these mitigation measures will be implemented along this reach of the channel to help increase the ecological potential of the watercourse.

Timescales

  • spring/summer 2021: ecological surveys carried out at the flood defence sites and the river restoration area
  • autumn 2021: potential start on river restoration works (dependent on the outcome of ecological surveys)
  • January 2022: construction starts on Ergue-Gaberic flood wall
  • spring 2022: construction starts on the flood embankment behind the tourist information centre

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