Dawlish gas leak ‘critical incident’, police say

A major gas leak in Dawlish town centre has been described as a ‘critical incident’ by police.

Dozens of home and local businesses were evacuated this morning after the leak was discovered at the Royal Mail sorting office on The Strand.

Emergency services remain at the scene, and a 150 metre cordon has been placed in the area.

Wales and West Utilities engineers are also at the scene.

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue service confirmed that no-one has been injured in the incident.

Dawlish gas leak

 

One resident told Devon Live that they have been evacuated because of a ‘major gas leak’ with people being taken in at the Strand Cafe in Dawlish, although they have since been relocated to the leisure centre, on the same day residents were evacuated there after the rail line disaster.

It is understood that today, five years on from the storm that flooded homes, Network Rail will announce that phase one – raising the sea wall at Dawlish – will get the go-ahead.

Dawlish evacuated

Hundreds or people were left stranded On the night of February 4, 2014, after a vicious storm pummelled the Westcountry.

At Dawlish, where the main railway line follows the coast, storm-driven waves tore away Brunel’s sea wall and left 50 metres of track hanging in midair.

Just over a week later David Cameron, the Prime Minister, told Parliament that the government will look at “longer-term alternatives” to the crumbling rail mainline at Dawlish.

 

On April 8, after Network Rail’s heroic “Orange Army” of engineers had reinstated the line, the Prime Minister visited Dawlish, saying: “It’s important to everyone across the country and across the world to get this simple fact – the South West is open for business, open for tourism and open for trade.” Mr  Cameron , who is fond of taking a holiday in Cornwall, said: “I will be back to the South West this summer.’’

The railway line at Dawlish hangs in the air after the February 4, 2014 storm

In October 2016 Chris  Grayling , the Transport Secretary, visited the embattled stretch of line between  Dawlish and Teignmouth and promised: “There is no option for the future that allows our railway links to Devon and Cornwall to be cut. That has to be an absolute commitment from the government.”

 

Network Rail said then that protecting the line at Dawlish and further west where it travels below the crumbling Teignmouth cliffs could cost about £300 million, and work could start in “two to three years”.

The Department of Transport confirmed Rail Minister Andrew Jones has cancelled his visit to the seaside town.

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