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United Kingdom: £80m Dawlish sea wall gets council planning approval with construction to begin in May

Plans for an £80m sea wall to protect the Dawlish coastal rail line from extreme weather have been by approved by Teignbridge District Council.

Construction of the new sea wall will now begin at the end of May, and once completed will provide the railway between Plymouth and Exeter with increased protection for the next 100 years.

Plans for the sea wall, the first phase of work to protect the coastal railway between Devon and Cornwall, were announced in February – five years since storms collapsed the old sea wall and washed away part of the track.

Following approval by Teignbridge DC’s planning committee, the sea wall will be raised from its current height of 5 metres to 7.5 metres and the walkway will be widened to 4 metres, with a barrier between pedestrians and the edge of the wall.

Network Rail’s managing director for the Western Route, Mark Langman, said: “We know the local community in Dawlish feel strongly about the future of the sea wall and the resilience of the railway in their town. We’d like to thank them for their input and engagement with us so far.

"We are pleased that Teignbridge District Council have approved the new sea wall and thank them for their thorough reviews of our plans throughout the process to date.

"The new sea wall will protect this vital rail artery to the south west for the next 100 years. World leading engineers have designed these plans, having considered hundreds of other options, and it will ensure the railway line is more resilient to extreme weather and rising sea levels for generations to come.”

Funding for the sea wall was announced by the DfT in mid-February, with up to £80m made available to build the wall, and it is expected to be completed by 2021.

Langman said Network Rail has listened to the views of the community whilst developing the plans which will see the sea wall minimise the impact on the Dawlish sea front whilst providing the appropriate level of protection.

Work will commence on site at the end of May, although it will be paused during the peak summer season.

Read RTM article . . .

See Local video coverage explaining the project (DevonLive) . . .