Lower Otter Restoration Project
The £15 million Lower Otter Restoration Project is working with local people and partner organisations to adapt and enhance the River Otter estuary, and its immediate surroundings in the face of a rapidly changing climate.
Led by Clinton Devon Estates and the Environment Agency, this project will create 55 hectares of mudflats, saltmarsh and other habitats with the aim to prevent future major flooding and reduce the impact of climate change. A spokesperson from the Environment Agency said ‘it is only a matter of time until the current river embankments fail and cause substantial flooding’. This project proposes a more sustainable way of managing the Otter Estuary and its immediate surroundings by working with nature. By purposefully breaching the existing defences in a controlled manner the historic floodplain can be restored to avoid damage from future floods and create carbon storing habitats.
Existing footpaths and South Farm Road will be realigned and a small car park, a new road bridge and a new footbridge will be created. Budleigh Salterton Cricket Club will also be relocated.
Following unanimous support for the project from East Devon District Council, work preparing the area started in early 2021.
This project is partially funded by Promoting Adaptation to Changing Coasts (PACCo), a €26m initiative supported by the European Union’s Interreg V A France Channel England programme. Using two sites as case studies, the Otter Valley in Devon, England, and the Saâne Valley in Normandy, France, it will create a model for estuarine areas to adapt early to climate change.
How is this helping Devon reach net-zero?
Action F3: Support the development of carbon sequestration accreditation systems locally for a range of carbon rich habitats and the creation of a Devon Carbon Investment platform.
Through protecting carbon rich wetland habitats, this project is working to achieve the goal of the Devon Carbon Plan that Devon’s coastal ecosystems and their significant carbon stores are protected, restored and enhanced. Restoration of the Lower Otter floodplain is part of the continuing commitment by Devon Climate Emergency partners to adapt to the impacts of climate change.