Hastings and Rye MP welcomes £398,000 in funding for Pett Level’s new flood defence programme

Sally-Ann Hart MP welcomes news that Pett Level has been awarded £398,000 of the £25 million funding for improving flood resilience with the new Natural Flood Management Programme.
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The Marsham Valley Natural Flood Management Partnership, led by RSPCA is one of 40 projects across England that were selected.

The government's strategy to strengthen the country's flood resilience includes techniques like wetlands creation and tree planting to lower the risk of floods. Natural flood management mechanisms protect, restore, and mimic the natural functions of catchments, floodplains and the coast to slow and store water.

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RSPCA propose a package of six Natural Flood Management Programme (NFM) projects in partnership with six local landowners, to increase Pett Level's flood resilience and bolster recent flood recovery efforts. The partnership will work at scale to introduce NFM measures across the Marsham catchment.

Sally-Ann speaking to Pett Level residents at an open-air meeting to discuss the flooding issuesSally-Ann speaking to Pett Level residents at an open-air meeting to discuss the flooding issues
Sally-Ann speaking to Pett Level residents at an open-air meeting to discuss the flooding issues

Ponds, scrapes, gully blocking, habitat improvements such as woodland regeneration and leaky barriers, will help to slow and store flows in the upper catchment. These measures will work together to reduce the possibility and impact of river and surface water flooding downstream.

Project partners also aim to combine regenerative farming and naturally resourced food production, with cooking, health and well-being. Wider benefits also include ecological restoration and enhanced biodiversity.

The announcement comes after the launch of the largest-ever investment in natural flood management projects in September of 2023, which prompted a range of applications to be submitted to the Environment Agency by community groups, environmental charities, and councils. These applications were reviewed by the Environment Agency under the direction of Defra and Natural England.

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Sally-Ann Hart said: “Having encouraged the local community to look at nature-based solutions to mitigate flooding at Pett Level, brought the relevant agencies together to discuss solutions, and then campaigned for public funding for this, I was delighted when the Government announced the £25 million Natural Flood Management Programme.

“It is fantastic news that the bid to the fund by RSPCA and 6 local landowners has resulted in £398,000 being awarded to increase Pett Level’s flood resilience and bolster recent flood recovery efforts. Congratulations to the RSPCA and landowners for such a good bid.

“I remain committed to continuing my work with the Environment Agency, East Sussex County Council, Southern Water and the local community to explore further solutions, such as the culvert widening, to further reduce the risk of flooding.”

Floods Minister Robbie Moore said: “It’s vital we use nature as an ally in our work to become ready for climate change, helping to restore the natural environment and protecting homes and businesses. That’s why we’re funding the biggest-ever investment in natural flood management – and it’s great to see the huge demand.

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“These schemes will complement traditional bricks-and-mortar defences, all funded by our £5.2 billion flood programme. This programme is one more part of our plan to bolster flood resilience and shield communities – all whilst boosting biodiversity, restoring habitats and protecting the environment for future generations.”