Residents ask questions about planned multi-million pound flood scheme in Eastbourne

Eastbourne residents had the opportunity to ask questions about a multi-million pound coastal defence scheme planned for the area this week.

Eastbourne residents had the opportunity to ask questions about a multi-million pound coastal defence scheme planned for the area this week.

The project, focusing on the coast from Eastbourne to Pevensey Bay, launched last month, amid fears about the effect that rising sea levels will have on the local coastline.

And this month, the Environment Agency (EA) and Eastbourne Borough Council have been holding a series of online seminars to give people the opportunity to ask questions.

Eastbourne seafront SUS-210709-132416001

Andy Walker from the EA said, “This is a 100-year project and I think what is likely to happen is that we will, rather than staging one significant construction intervention, we will probably do a series of works over that 100-year duration as we move through time and see how climate change is changing.

“Within the long list options that we are going to share with you in the spring, there are parts of this coastline throughout the entire project area from Holywell to Cooden Beach, there are sections of that beach and those defences which will be really hard to sustain in the long term and things will have to be done differently.

“A metre of sea level rise, if that is what we end up having, is really, really significant change with the increased storminess we are expecting to see as well.

“As a society we are going to have to adapt to that and make changes. That is just the situation we have put ourselves in.”

The multi-million pound plan to protect around 10,000 properties could also reduce insurance rates for local residents and business.

Mr Walker said, “When we do any flood defence work, whether it is coastal, tidal or in a river, we then update the flood map which insurance companies use to calculate their premiums.”

At the online seminar on Wednesday, December 1, concerns were also raised from a resident whose home had been flooded in the past.

Kay Skinner said, “I have been flooded due to heavy rainfall that both the local and further inshore drains and sewers were unable to cope with.

“My concern is that if we have a massive wall stopping the sea coming in, what will stop us flooding from the other side of that wall on the land side?”

Mr Walker, who is a senior advisor on the scheme, said, “We are working with ESCC and others who deal with surface water and fluvial river flooding to ensure that the coastal defence works do not negatively impact other types of flooding.”

Residents are being encouraged to continue sharing their thoughts on the scheme.

Mr Walker said, “It is our role to input your views into the project team and the decision making process, so it is extremely important that if you have an interest or you have a view in the work that we are doing, that you continue to stay engaged with us.”