Research and analysis

Access for all: audit methodology and pilot audit of Environment Agency flood defences in Kent

This project was undertaken to develop a method that could be used to assess the current state of access on flood defences.

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A literature search was carried out on previous reports and audit methodologies on the subject. In the report ‘Paths without Prejudice’ (Countryside Agency 2000), the Countryside Agency developed a methodology suitable for use on open-countryside sites such as many of the Environment Agency defences. An Environment Agency consultant selected and tested the methodology on four stretches of defences in Kent over a total of 20km. Support and advice on disabled access matters was given by a member of the Disabled Ramblers.

The project found that: * the methodology was a successful way of assessing flood defences for access and identifying barriers and could be applied on variety of flood defence types; * there were many barriers to access along the flood defences surveyed in Kent; and * the average cost to improve defences to an appropriate standard could be in the region of £1500/km.