Community consultation events on management of the Otter Valley
The events are part of the Lower Otter Restoration Project which seeks to understand the flooding dynamics of the lower Otter, and investigate whether a managed re-alignment of the river might be able to improve the ability of the floodplain to accept and drain floodwater, improve the wildlife value of the estuary, and safeguard existing access in the long term.
The consultation events have been planned for Tuesday 1st July (1400 to 1900) at East Budleigh Community Hall and Saturday 5th July (1000 to 1400) at Lime Kiln car park, Budleigh Salterton. Information will be available on the environmental and flooding issues facing the lower Otter and it is hoped that the public who love and enjoy the estuary will engage and present their own concerns and future vision for the estuary.
Mike Williams of the Lower Otter Restoration Project explained: “The Lower River Otter is disconnected from its floodplain by an ageing embankment which runs through the centre of the historic estuary. This impacts adversely on the ability of the river to cope naturally with flooding. In recent years these flood events have also caused significant erosion of the embankments and associated land, and have threatened the integrity of existing rights of way which form part of the SW Coastal Path. These events will likely become more common with the sea level rises and more intensive storms associated with current climate change predictions.
“We believe that the Lower Otter Restoration Project provides a great opportunity to deliver a more sustainable future for the estuary and surrounding area. There are technical issues to be overcome and we want local people to be involved in developing something that has real benefits for people and wildlife. Please come along to one of these events and let us know what you think.”