Development on flood zones, local policy makers choice, regardless of advice?

Canvey Island was the base for the BBC Radio 4 documentary, the Long View, and examined whether our government should reconsider further spending cuts for the nation’s flood defences.

The effect of the North Sea surge on Canvey Island during 1953, the Thames barrier and the Canvey Island sea defences were featured as was the recent surface water flooding across the UK.
Funding was a major issue covered, and whether this allows enough to be done to prevent flood damage.

However a major issue was mentioned, that over the last 5 years 4,000 dwellings have been approved against Environment Agency advice.

The onus is clearly on Local Authorities in ignoring EA advice.

Where Canvey Island is concerned, often the EA consider they have no objection to a particular development.

However they do go on to add certain advice that our Local Authority, the Development Committee and Council officers, should be aware of.

This advice includes such details as;
recognising Canvey is at risk should there be a flood defence failure, although the likelihood of it happening is low, the consequences should it happen would be very high.
Emergency planners should be consulted closely with.
The safety of future residents is heavily reliant on them being able to move to safe refuge areas.
The EA do not comment on the local flood emergency response and evacuation procedures.
The EA do not comment on the structural stability of buildings during a flood.
The EA note that regularly that application for development within CPBC are not accompanied by evidence that the Sequential and Exception Tests have been applied.

Of late the EA also query the viability of future occupants of new dwellings on Canvey Island being able to obtain property insurance.

One wonders whether CPBC Development Committee members are armed with the very best, most up to date information available, whether it is correct for these members’ opinion, on whether, or not, one day in the future a storm surge with the power to breach our sea defences will occur.

Environment Agency advice is limited to a point as indicated above, after that it is down to Development Committee members decision-making abilities.

It cannot be ignored that the majority membership of this committee is made up of members representing wards off of Canvey Island.

This post is not aiming to be alarmist simply raising the flood risk topic and whether the over development of Canvey Island is the correct policy to pursue and whether this will lead to more or less ability, in the event of an emergency, of the residents to cope.

A third access road is irrelevant where a flood emergency is concerned, the Castle Point Authority’s emergency plan consists of a “go in, stay in and tune in” policy.

However this is one aspect that must be borne in mind as residents prepare to respond to the Local Plan draft.

CPBC Cabinet, officers and the mainland Councillors that approved the Local Plan draft being sent out to consultation believe that it is appropriate to develop, in the near future, approximately 1450 further dwellings on Canvey Island.

Your choice, or is it?

“The Long View” Broadcast today Tuesday 28th January 2014 the programme link and details can be found here.

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One response to “Development on flood zones, local policy makers choice, regardless of advice?

  1. Well worth listening to, this programme.

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