Flood defences given a health check after the wettest winter on record
This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government
Thousands of flood defences across the South East coastline have been inspected and repaired by the Environment Agency.
Flood defences have been checked for damage and any repairs and maintenance that may be needed. Some of the worst hit flood assets were found along the South Coast, where flood defences were seriously put to the test.
The tidal surge in December, combining high spring tides with a coastal surge, resulted in significant waves hitting the coastline. This put a large amount of pressure on coastal defences stretching from North Kent right around the south coast and across to Hampshire.
The south coast was battered by months of successive tidal surges and winter storms, causing thousands of tonnes of shingle to be lost from coastal defences.
More than 40,000 tonnes of shingle returned to Kent coastline
In Kent, the Denge frontage near Camber was severely affected by the storms. Throughout the winter, Environment Agency staff carried out emergency works to shore up the defences and reduce the risk of flooding to thousands of homes across Romney Marsh.
In total more than 40,000 tonnes of shingle was returned along this stretch of the coastline. The Denge frontage directly protects 1,102 residential and 130 non-residential properties, and also helps to protect 14,500 homes across Romney Marsh. Profiling works were completed on 4 April 2014.
Further along the Kent coastline sea defences at Hythe Ranges were breached. The Environment Agency has worked closely with the Ministry of Defences and contractors to stabilise the beach and repair the damage. This work completed has reduced the risk of flooding to 68 mobile homes, 21 residential properties the A259 and the MOD range.
Repairs in East & West Sussex
December’s tidal surge was the highest ever recorded at Rye Harbour in East Sussex and it overtopped an access road used by the Environment Agency to carry out shingle recharge at the Pett Beach frontage. The overtopping caused damage to a 160-metre section of the road, with 40 metres being completely washed away. Environment Agency officers and contractors repaired the defence within two weeks to ensure the Pett defences were in a good condition for the next high tides.
The Environment Agency has also been working hard around the West Sussex coastline, moving 250,000 tonnes of shingle, principally at Lancing and Elmer. Following inspections, more than 20 sites have been identified in Hampshire that require repair work. This month Environment Agency officers have carried out emergency works at Lepe Outfall along the New Forest coastline, where the outfall has been undermined by severe wave action, causing the concrete structure to collapse.
East Hampshire emergency work
In East Hampshire, Southmoor Seawall in Brockhampton experienced considerable damage to the seawall face and sections of the concrete wave return wall have been broken. Emergency work has started to ensure the seawall is safe and structurally sound.
Operations Manager Mike O’Neill said:
The Environment Agency’s flood defences were put to the test during months of successive tidal surges. Our teams have worked around the clock over the past few months repairing damage and maintaining flood defences to ensure they continue to protect people.
We have seen the devastation flooding has had on communities throughout the last year. That’s why it is crucial that we regularly maintain and repair flood defences to keep them working properly. We have replaced hundreds of thousands of tonnes of shingle over recent months.
Environment Agency teams will continue to inspect and repair defences over the coming months to ensure they are maintained and are ready to reduce the risk of flooding.