New report highlights increased risk of flooding in West Sussex

A new report by the Environment Agency has highlighted the impact that climate change will have on the risk of flooding in West Sussex.

 

The River Adur Catchment Flood Management Plan has been drawn up by the Environment Agency to look at the future impact of flooding on homes and businesses in the catchment area of the River Adur, and its tributaries, and to outline plans to manage the increased flood risk.

The report, which was published as a consultation document last week, warns that "climate change will increase flood risk in the future" and that "the effects of climate change will be most significant in the Lower Adur area [where the River Adur runs through Steyning and Upper Beeding and down to the coast at Shoreham]" with damage in the event of a one in one hundred flood in this area expected to increase "from £3.1 million in 2006 to £77 million in 2106."

Environment Agency modelling of a one in one hundred flood highlighted the risk of flooding to more than 92 residential and 21 commercial properties in Steyning, Upper Beeding, Bramber and Shoreham, with an average flood depth of more than half a metre having a serious impact on agriculture, business and key infrastructure.

Looking to other parts of the county, the report stated that "increased surface water flooding .... is of particular concern in Brighton and Hove City where the likelihood of rapid basement flooding will increase, posing a potential threat to life."

Other large towns such as Worthing, Burgess Hill and Shoreham are also "likely to experience an increase in surface water and sewer flooding in some localised areas."

The Environment Agency estimates that 155 residential properties are currently at risk from one in one hundred flooding along the Adur and its tributaries.  Within 50 years this figure is expected to rise to nearly 1,700.

River flooding is not the only risk to local homes and businesses, with the report stating that "predicted future sea level rise results in a potentially very large increase in flood damage in the Lower River Adur.  Our modelling indicates more than a 1,000 per cent increase in the cost of flood damage resulting from a sea level rise of 6 mm per year for 100 years."

Nick Herbert commented: "This report will be of huge concern to local residents.  It highlights the need for concerted action to avoid the awful scenes of flooding which we have seen in other parts of the country.

"It also emphasises the gravity of climate change and its potential impact on us all.

"I will be seeking reassurance from the Government that every possible step is being taken to ensure that local people are protected from future flooding."

Ends

 

Notes to Editors

1.The River Adur Catchment Flood Management Plan can be found at http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/static/documents/Research/adur_pt1_to_chp2_1840158.pdf.

2.The consultation runs until Friday 9 November. Comments can be sent to: alexie.gilmartin@environment-agency.gov.uk or The Environment Agency, Guildbourne House, Chatsworth Road, Worthing, West Sussex BN11 1LD.

Joe Coombes