As part of the works programme, flood defences have been raised and extended to mitigate the risk of tidal and river flooding in the area, and natural flood prevention measures have also been introduced.
According to the Environment Agency, the bolstered flood defences are also sympathetic to the built and natural environments in the historic town.
The range of improvements in the area include:
- raising 500m of existing flood walls and building 140m of new flood wall
- adding flood-resilient balconies, windows, and doors
- new flood gates, a slipway, and 150m of raised riverside wall
- specially designed habitat niches in the masonry cladding on the Steamer Quay wall to support estuary organisms such as the tentacled lagoon worm
- and planting more than 140 trees and restoring 7ha of wetlands habitats at Queensmarsh by creating grazing marsh, ponds, reedbeds, and wet woodlands.
Defra grant-in-aid was used to fund the EA’s improvements, along with £110,000 from South Hams District Council.
"It’s very satisfying to see the hard work of all the agencies involved come to fruition in these improved flood defence works," says Councillor John Tucker, Leader of South Hams District Council.
"I’m pleased that we’re able to protect homes and businesses from the worst effects of flooding while still maintaining the character of Totnes, and preserve and protect wildlife habitats at the same time. The flood defence improvements are needed because of changes in land use in the area and a changing climate."