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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/medway-estuary-and-swale-flood-and-coastal-risk-management-strategy/medway-estuary-and-swale-flood-and-coastal-risk-management-strategy
Some areas around the Medway Estuary and Swale are low-lying areas and at real risk of flooding. Due to aging flood defences, rising sea levels and climate change, this will increase in the next 100 years with approximately 18,000 properties, over 10,000 hectares of agricultural land and key infrastructure at an increased risk of tidal flooding. Over the next 100 years there is also an increased risk of erosion to assets along the cliffs in the north of the Isle of Sheppey.
The Environment Agency is developing the Medway Estuary and Swale flood and coastal erosion risk management strategy which will determine the best economic, environmental and technically appropriate approach to managing flood and coastal erosion risk within the strategic area, and identify suitable schemes to deliver the policies set out within the Medway Estuary and Swale, and the Isle of Grain to South Foreland shoreline management plans
In 2010, the South East Coastal Group adopted and published the Medway Estuary and Swale and the Isle of Grain to South Foreland shoreline management plans (SMPs).
In developing these, a wide range of studies was carried out to understand the likely impacts of climate change and sea level rise over the short, medium and long-term on:
- the existing flood defences
- the flood risk to communities and infrastructure
- internationally important habitat and other land
The Environment Agency then considered the economic value of flood risk areas against the costs of protecting it in the future, and used this to determine the most sustainable policy for different sections of the coastline. The policies are either:
- hold the line - to build or maintain artificial defences so that the position of the shoreline remains
- managed realignment - allowing the shoreline to move naturally, but managing the process to direct it in certain areas
- no active intervention - there is no planned investment in defending against flooding or erosion, whether or not an artificial defence has existed previously.
These policies were widely consulted upon and agreed by partners including the local councils, Natural England, English Heritage and Defra.
You can view the SMPs at: SE Coastal Group.
What the strategy will do
The Medway Estuary and Swale flood and coastal erosion risk strategy will assess how to best protect people and properties, designated habitat and agricultural land over the next 100 years. The strategy will identify the best technical solutions for flood defence, while also considering the impacts and benefits for local communities, the environment and the cost to the taxpayer.
Much of the area is nationally and internationally designated habitat which will be lost as sea levels rise and ‘squeeze’ it against the existing defences. Part of this strategy will be to plan how these designated habitats can be retained by realigning defences or creating compensatory areas in other locations.
The current stage of the project
The project team have developed leading options for each section of the strategy area. These have been based on economic, technical, and environmental appraisals.
The Environment Agency has carried out a consultation with key stakeholders including local authorities and parish councils, ahead of upcoming landowner and public consultation.
The final strategy is currently expected to be completed in spring 2018, with official sign off in summer 2018.
A stakeholder engagement group (SEG) has been set up, consisting of key partners and community representatives such as local parish councillors. The SEG meets at key points throughout the project. To date the SEG has assisted the Environment Agency in gathering information to gain a better understanding of the needs of the local communities and has fed into the development of options.
The Environment Agency invited landowners within the strategy area to meet with the project team to provide an opportunity to ask questions regarding how their land could potentially be impacted by the strategy. If you are a landowner and would like further information please consult your local parish council or contact our project team direct.
Public consultation: November 2017 to January 2018
This will give the public the opportunity to discuss the draft preferred options proposed in the strategy report with the Environment Agency. Communities will have the opportunity to view information, look at the final options, ask questions and provide valuable input to the project team.
If you want any more information on the strategy, or would like to be added to the project’s regular email newsletter distribution list, please contact please contact Richard Westcott or Jon Byne on: 03708 506 506 or email: email@example.com.