Work to control floodwater on the Upper Ouse valley has been approved unanimously by Lewes District Councillors at a budget meeting last week.
Lib Dem Councillor Peter Gardiner has been working with local charities, the Ouse and Adur Rivers Trust (OART) and the Sussex Flow Initiative (SFI). He initiated the £300,000 programme, which was approved on February 25.
He said: “We will introduce some modern short-term and long-term schemes. Peak flows will be lessened by using methods to spread the flow over longer periods, and removing embankments to allow more water onto the old flood plain will be undertaken where it can do least harm.
“Hard barriers are very necessary in Lewes and Newhaven, but we must also push ahead on ‘soft’ schemes which cut runoff and ground water at source.”
OART project manager, Peter King, said: “This money is very welcome. Not only can we now carry out schemes waiting for funding but can develop and deliver projects which provide multiple benefits to those living in the Ouse catchment, alongside improving its ecological condition.”
Sandra Manning-Jones of SFI added: “Part of the funding is to identify where projects will produce the best effect, and we will have an education programme to widen knowledge about what people can do in our villages and towns.”
Both charities have been involved in restoration of habitat and improving water conditions on the Ouse, and will continue to ensure that wildlife is protected and enhanced. This proposal complements all the Environment Agency-backed schemes funded by EA, LDC, Network Rail, ESCC and the Coast-to-Capital LEP for the Lower Ouse, where sea defence and river flooding barriers have ben erected.
Lib Dem Leader Sarah Osborne said: ‘This is the second major intervention Peter has brought through for the council to consider. Successful work from the previous funding is already helping reduce the dangers of floods.”
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