Film charts the biggest coastal defence project yet undertaken by the Environment Agency in the West Country...

THE BIGGEST coastal defence project yet undertaken by the Environment Agency in the West Country will help save thousands of homes from flooding as well as rescue a famous dune system rich in wildlife, say its creators.

To help make it all happen a giant 460-metre long “sausage” was filled with local sand and covered in stones.

So big and technically ground-breaking was the work that the Agency asked Portishead-based film maker Paul Gainey to make a film about the £12 million scheme.

Working with Bristol-based Omni Productions and drone film-making company Dart 3D, Paul filmed the work as it happened.

“The film is about the flood defence scheme which reduces flood risk to 2,800 homes and businesses around the Exe Estuary as well as the main rail line into South Devon and Cornwall,” said Paul Gainey who is a communications manager for the Environment Agency in the South West. “With elements including a new 100-metre-long flood-wall and over 200,000 cubic metres of sand, the Dawlish Warren scheme uses top engineering techniques and the natural landscape to reduce flood risk, while also conserving habitat for birds and wildlife.

“It was a hugely challenging piece of engineering – as the film reveals – and the first time that a giant geo-tube, which is in effect a large plastic sausage filled with sand, is buried under the beach to protect the area from flooding. Given the scale of the flood defence scheme it was essential to shoot the work from the air and I think the drone footage really gives the viewer a real feeling of how large and challenging the Dawlish scheme has been.

“Most people will see the film on You Tube, so it has been compressed, but was shot on 4K so it can be shown on a large screen.

“It has several audiences – people who visit Dawlish visitor centre and want to know about the scheme, viewers who are curious and watch the film on You Tube and engineering students who want to see the challenges faced by the Agency and how these were overcome.”

This article first appeared in the Independent. To get the latest articles when they appear, buy the print edition every Sunday or subscribe to our online edition HERE.