VIDEO: work underway in Sidmouth to clear the river bed in The Byes
By Philippa Davies
15th Sep 2021 | Local News
The Environment Agency is carrying out important work at The Byes in Sidmouth – and Sidmouth Nub News has been watching the crew do it.
They're removing excessive accumulations of river gravel that have built up in the River Sid over successive winters.
This will reinstate river capacity at this location to ensure there is sufficient room for high flows and reduce flood risk in preparation for the winter.
The work also helps to reduce the amount of maintenance that is needed further downstream where access would be more disruptive.
An Environment Agency spokesperson said the work is part of their maintenance programme throughout Devon; sites are assessed annually and if work is required it is planned in consultation with colleagues from the fisheries and biodiversity teams to check when and how the work is carried out.
One local resident questioned why the gravel was not being cleared from the mouth of the River Sid. He said: "The river is already backed up to the first weir, it wouldn't take much rain for it to flow back that way, causing real problems upstream."
The spokesperson said: "The Environment Agency is working in The Byes where the river is more constrained and we want to clear gravels so there is sufficient room for high flows.
"The gravels at the mouth of the Sid will naturally disperse when we have high river flows. The river drains through these gravels and they do not pose a flood risk."
The work in Sidmouth is expected to take about a week.