Flood Defence Boost For Portsmouth

28 June 2011, 12:14

A million pounds is going to be spent improving flood defences along the seafront and coastline..

Big projects to boost coast defences and fight flash flooding will get under way following major grants won by Portsmouth City Council.

The government cash, gained with the help of the Environment Agency (EA), will help the council prepare improved coast defences around Portsea Island. It will also be used to research and tackle flooding from extreme rainfall.

A £1m grant will fund a three-year project to design new or improved flood and erosion defences, protecting Southsea seafront and the coastline from Milton to Tipner.

Many of the current defences need replacing and work is also needed to respond to rising sea levels expected as a result of climate change.

As well as the £1m grant, the council has agreed to set aside £223,000 as a contingency risk fund, which may or may not be needed.

Another £290,000 of government cash is to be used to tackle flash flooding from rainfall.

This will be used to:
* fit some homes in Southsea, that are most at risk, with measures such as flood barriers for doors and flood-resistant airbricks
* fund studies identifying the areas of the city most at risk and the best solutions to their problems
* create a small council flood and drainage team to deal with new statutory responsibilities

The council has signed an agreement with the EA to work together on providing the new coast defences over the next 20 years, with the intention that developments will contribute to the cost.

It is also working with Southern Water on plans to reduce the amount of rainwater getting into foul water sewers and causing overflows during heavy rainfall.

Cllr Eleanor Scott, the council's Cabinet Member for the Environment, said: "This money is great news for Portsmouth, because many cities are looking for a share of the limited national funding available.

"We need to work together on tackling these issues, which affect Portsmouth more than some places. This is not only an island city but one which is very built up and very densely populated.

"Work on the defences on the seafront will be a great opportunity to make it even more attractive to local people and visitors."

James Humphrys, the Environment Agency's area manager, said: "We are delighted that the council has been awarded this money. This money will go a long way in protecting over 4,000 homes and businesses across Portsea Island."

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