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Work begins to repair Horsey Island flood defences

PUBLISHED: 11:29 29 November 2017

Work in Progress at Horsey Island, Braunton. By Adam Hobbs

Work in Progress at Horsey Island, Braunton. By Adam Hobbs

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The landowner has been given an emergency licence to repair the broken outer bank that has been causing so much flooding concern in Braunton

Fierce tides flooded through the gap at Horsey Island earlier in November. Picture: Adam Hobbs Fierce tides flooded through the gap at Horsey Island earlier in November. Picture: Adam Hobbs

Work has started to repair the breach in flood defences at Horsey Island near Braunton.

There were fears for the future of Braunton Marsh following the collapse of the outer bank, which led to severe flooding of the land beyond during high tides.

A plan of action has now been agreed to make repairs to the outer bank and secure the inner bank, following a meeting on Friday.

It was called at the request of Braunton Parish Council and chaired by North Devon MP Peter Heaton-Jones, with the key players in attendance.

The scene of the broken bank at Horsey Island near Braunton at low tide. Picture: Brad Bunyard The scene of the broken bank at Horsey Island near Braunton at low tide. Picture: Brad Bunyard

Parish council chairman Derrick Spear welcomed the ‘much-needed’.

He said: “As such, it provided much greater clarity of who is responsible, not only for Horsey Island, but also the wider issue of who is responsible for our seaward shoreline defences from Crow Point, the Braunton Marshes and the River Caen Estuary.”

The landowner has been granted an emergency works licence by the Environment Agency (EA) and has already begun works to repair the breach in the outer bank.

The North Devon Biosphere has offered to assist the landowner to try to secure funding to create a regulated tidal exchange to provide further protection from future breaches.

This scene shows how close the flooding at Horsey Island is to Braunton. Picture: Jingle Gent This scene shows how close the flooding at Horsey Island is to Braunton. Picture: Jingle Gent

Additionally, the Marsh Drainage Board and Marsh Inspectors are in the process of obtaining quotations to repair the Great Sluice.

The EA said it will advise the marsh inspectors about making the inner bank fit for purpose and might be able to provide funding towards these works, as there is a potential risk to residential property if the inner bank is breached.

The parish council has said the EA has assured it if the inner bank was breached it would not lead to flooding in Braunton, though it could affect three nearby homes.

The council has offered to continue to arrange meetings when needed and Mr Spear thanked Mr Heaton-Jones and all those who had attended.

There is currently a large breach in the outer bank at Horsey Island and the sluice gate is out of action.

Earlier this month following big tides, fire fighters were called in to help lead stranded sheep and cattle back to higher ground.

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