Flood project construction vehicles end up in deep water

digger underwater

One of the construction vehicles that ended up deep in floodwater. - Credit: John Hiles

Questions were raised over the management of the Lower Otter Restoration Project work in Budleigh Salterton after construction vehicles were submerged in floodwater following last Wednesday’s heavy rainfall. 

Local residents posted photos on social media showing the waterlogged vehicles in the Cricket Club and South Farm Road area, and asked why they had been left there despite warnings of heavy rain and flood risk. There were also claims that oil had leaked from the vehicles into the water. 

Oil in the floodwater

Evidence of oil in the floodwater - did it come from one of the submerged construction vehicles? - Credit: Louise Michelle Martyn

The Environment Agency issued a statement on Thursday, October 21, acknowledging that the vehicles should have been moved. 

It said: “Flood waters from the River Otter rose sharply shortly after midnight peaking at 3:30am. This inundated some construction plant. We are working with our contractor, Kier, to understand why this was not moved ahead of the flooding. Plant will be moved as soon as is possible.” 

The statement added that the Lower Otter Restoration Project will improve natural drainage and reduce the flood risk in this area.

sunken digger

A digger in the floodwater - Credit: John Hiles

sunken diggers

The flooding after heavy rain on Wednesday, October 20. - Credit: Walt Raleigh

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