8 March 2010

A new flood hazard for Seaton

Many of us are worried about flooding along Harbour Road in Seaton - one of the lowest streets in the town.  What is more, we consider that building an eight-foot embankment between the road and the marshes will only make things worse.  Tesco's solution is to cut a channel - a monsoon drain - in the embankment half-way along Harbour Road leading to the marshes to drain the flood water away from the road.

The trouble with this solution is that the flood water will have to flow from both ends along Harbour Road towards the middle to reach the drain.  Their engineers admit this flow would be fast enough to knock someone off their feet - which seems to us to be a serious disadvantage .

However, East Devon District Council saw no problem, and the monsoon drain has been adopted as the solution to flooding in Harbour Road.  We might be knocked off our feet, but the water level will drop, sooner or later, so hold on tight to something or other and there will be nothing to worry about !

Since then, we have heard about the sea-borne infill plan to raise the level of the land by the eight feet required.  Tesco want to build a twelve foot wall around the whole site, pump in a slurry of sea-water and silt, let it settle and pump the water back into the bay.  This is a very ambitious - some say impractical - operation with a long list of disadvantages.  To this list we must now add one more - a major increase in the flooding risk.

Tesco's twelve foot wall has no monsoon drain: it runs without a break round the whole site so that the slurry can spread to all parts and find it's own level.  So, if a flood comes while the wall is up, Harbour Road will lack even the inadequate protection of a monsoon drain to the marshes.

We have asked the Environment Agency to look at this problem.  We will let you know what they say.

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