In 2014, the Lower Otter Restoration Project was initiated by Clinton Devon Estates and the Environment Agency to investigate a managed realignment of the mouth of the River Otter at Budleigh Salterton.
They required a professional communications team to engage with stakeholders about the project and manage a sustained timeline of communications.
The River Otter in East Devon, which meets the sea at Budleigh Salterton, has been shaped by man for almost 1,000 years.
Around 200 years ago, embankments were built in the tidal mouth of the river to keep out the sea and create new farmland which today is owned by our client, Clinton Devon Estates. But today, these embankments are failing in the face of climate change, leading to localised flooding.
The managed realignment would lead to the loss of existing farmland, but create new habitats for nature and wildlife.
Such a landscape-scale project involves a host of statutory and other stakeholders, from the Environment Agency and Natural England to parish councils, farm tenants, residents’ associations and local wildlife and environmental groups.
KOR Communications, on behalf of Clinton Devon Estates, manages the project’s internal and external communications.
Working with the Environment Agency, we have facilitated public consultations and exhibitions at key stages of the project to get public feedback on plans for the site to inform planning application documents.
A cohesive communications protocol was developed for all partner organisations. We provide a press office function and respond to media enquiries, liaising with project partners where needed.
We proactively produce media releases which are featured in local and regional press, informing key audiences about progress and updates to the project. We also designed and continue to host and maintain the project’s comprehensive website, www.lowerotterrestorationproject.co.uk.
Our photographer periodically visits the site to capture a suite of drone images to track the progress of the Lower Otter.