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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
The Environment Agency has now finalised and adopted the Medway Estuary and Swale Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Strategy (MEASS).
This sets out the best economic, environmental and technically appropriate approach to managing flood and coastal erosion risk over the next 100 years.
The Strategy assesses how to best protect people and properties, designated habitat and agricultural land over the next 100 years. It identifies 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.
Many areas around the Medway Estuary and Swale are low-lying and at significant risk of flooding. Due to ageing flood defences, rising sea levels and climate change, this risk will increase over the next 100 years. It will put approximately 18,000 properties, more than 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 along the cliffs in the north of the Isle of Sheppey.
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. The Strategy sets out a plan for how these designated habitats can be retained by realigning defences or creating compensatory areas in other locations.
In developing MEASS, a wide range of studies have been 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
We have 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.
As part of the Strategy we have set out the first 10 years of proposed actions and works. These works will be at locations identified as needing action based on a number of criteria, for example, the current standard of protection and condition of existing defences.
All works recommended by the Strategy will be subject to availability of funding, both from government and from partner organisations. Works will also need to go through detailed scoping and design. Public and stakeholders will be consulted during the detailed design stage of specific schemes.
Members of the public may inspect a printed copy of the Strategy (inspection is free) from the following address:
Environment Agency, Orchard House, Endeavour Park, London Road, West Malling, Kent ME19 5SH
Times at which the documents may be inspected are Monday to Friday between the hours of 9:00am and 5:00pm.
Please contact Jon Byne on 03708 506 506 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Strategy Appraisal Report (StAR), a Non-Technical Summary, and key environmental reports are also available to download here.