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Planners give green light to Otter Valley project - Environment Agency

A project to help a river valley adapt to climate change and create an internationally important wildlife reserve now has planning permission.

East Devon District Council has approved a pioneering project to help a river valley on England’s Jurassic Coast adapt to climate change and create an internationally important wildlife reserve.

The EU-funded Lower Otter Restoration Project (LORP) will reconnect the River Otter to its historic floodplain and return the lower Otter Valley to a more natural condition; creating more than 50ha of intertidal mudflats, saltmarsh and other valuable estuarine habitats.

LORP is a partnership between the Environment Agency, local landowner Clinton Devon Estates, and the East Devon Pebblebed Heaths Conservation Trust that currently manages the estuary. It also has the support of Natural England, RSPB and Devon Wildlife Trust.

The success of the £15 million project rested on it being given the thumbs up by East Devon District Council. Planning approval means work on the project can start this spring (2021) and be completed by early 2023.

The Lower Otter Restoration Project is mainly funded by the European Interreg programme through an initiative called Promoting Adaptation to Changing Coasts (PACCo). It is partnered with a similar project in the Saâne Valley in Normandy, France. Both are pilot projects that aim to demonstrate an important principle – that early adaptation to climate change brings greater benefits than a delayed response or inaction. If successful, the adaptation model for these two projects will be rolled out to other locations in the UK and France.

Posted on: 07 January 2021

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