Bude: improving flood defenses and habitats
The River Bude Flood Defense and Restoration Program is a £ 2.1million program to improve the existing flood mitigation program and restore the ecological potential of the River Neet between the Weir of Whalesborough and Pethericks Mill Nature Reserve.
Bude has a long history of flooding, the River Neet and the Bude Canal, tidal waves and storm waves. Following an extreme flooding in the 1950s, the Bude flood mitigation program was built. The regime was then updated following a major river flooding in 1993.
Over time, certain elements of the system have declined and require intervention to maintain the standard of design protection it offers.
Flood defenses identified as needing attention are the earthen fill behind the Bude Tourist Information Center between the canal and Bencoolen Bridge and the masonry backfill on the Ergue-Gaberic Way between the Masonic Hall and the Nanny Moore Bridge. Without action, these defenses will continue to weaken and the risk of flooding neighboring properties will increase.
Since the construction of the existing Bude flood mitigation program, Bude has again been significantly affected by other extreme events, with the most notable recent events occurring:
- June 1993 when over 71 properties (residential and non-residential) were inundated due to river and surface water flooding
- August 2004 when the river passed the defenses of the Bencoolen bridge
- In March 2008, strong spring tides and high winds resulted in coastal flooding
- January and February 2014, when high tide and advancing waves on the Neet River caused the defense at the Nanny Moore Bridge to overtake and flood the properties, exceeding the defensive levels along the recreation ground and inundating the area around Leven Cottages
- During all coastal flood warnings, the teams of the field services of the Environment Agency are present with pumps to evacuate the water resulting from the overtaking of the waves by the waves.
2. Program details
The program has received £ 2.1million in funding under the £ 170million government fund to accelerate the implementation of nationwide flood risk management programs.
The Crescent River Flood Defense and Restoration Project will better protect the local community and economy from flooding, which is expected to increase in the near future due to climate change.
The proposed work will strengthen existing flood defenses and provide a solid foundation for future project improvements, protecting 22 residential properties and 15 commercial and community properties along Crescent Road and Ergue-Gaberic, between the Neet River and the Bude Canal. .
The proposals relate to the renewal of the flood defense along the Ergue-Gaberic route. This work includes the construction of a new flood barrier on the land face of the shore behind the existing road edge.
The construction of the wall will require the removal of part of the existing bank facing the road and vegetation on the bank to facilitate the construction of the foundation of the wall. Upon completion of construction along the Ergue-Gaberic Way, the top of the shore will be replanted with a selection of native plant species to help improve habitat. The earthen embankment behind the tourist information center will also be restored and access for maintenance improved.
The river restoration element of the project is focused on the River Neet upstream of Bude between the Whalesbourough Weir and Pethericks Mill Nature Reserve. The Water Framework Directive is a European directive which aims to protect and improve the aquatic environment. Under the directive, the Neet River currently has moderate ecological potential, with a requirement to achieve good ecological potential by 2027.
Measures to improve the condition of the watercourse have already been considered and studied by the River Restoration Center. These include improvements in the channel such as narrowing and creating pinch points, as well as the planting of trees, which will encourage the morphological diversity of the channel and the improvement of the quality of the habitat for a better quality. range of species, mainly fish. As part of this component of the project, these mitigation measures will be implemented along this section of the channel to help increase the ecological potential of the watercourse.
3. Time scale
- spring / summer 2021: ecological studies carried out on the flood protection sites and the river restoration area
- autumn 2021: potential start of river restoration work (depending on the results of ecological surveys)
- January 2022: start of construction of the Ergue-Gaberic flood wall
- spring 2022: start of work on the flood dam behind the tourist office
For more information, please contact patrick.o’[email protected] or 07795 452125.