The comments added to the previous post by Mr S. Sawkins warrant further examination.
“I am sure that there are other discrepancies entrenched in the officers comments detailing justification for development on the flood cell of Canvey Island. Why the planning officers chose to work outside the National Planning Policy Guidance is some thing for them to consider. To opt for the pragmatic approach and abandon the more cautious professional alternative will need explanation. Those of us who have lived on Canvey long enough to remember the abandoned colour coded emergency evacuation plan promulgated to all residents, will consider the now go-in stay-in and tune-in policy a very poor option. We would also question why access and egress provisions have disappeared from planning application. Clearly Canvey Island has been so over populated that it has become more onerous to consider the evacuation of its community compared to the consequences of a total LPG tank failure or a serious breach of our sea defence. These types of scenario are assessed in terms of likelihood and consequence, there is no allowance within a risk based approach assessment process for the lets hope that it will not happen mind-set. Societal risk has not been given sufficient weight in all of the councils dealings with Land Use Planning, something that the planning Inspector will not be able to ignore.”
Mr Sawkins, as will Castle Point Borough Council officers and Cabinet members, and as should other councillors, be aware of a publication by FLOODsite, an EU sponsored agency, titled “Evacuation and Traffic Management Report” dated 2008.
The contents of which appears to have sounded the death knell for any hope of an organised evacuation policy for Canvey Island, hence Castle Point Borough Council’s decision to resort to a “Go in, Stay in, tune in” policy.
The adequacy of a “Go in, Stay in, tune in” policy should be subjected to stringent examination by an independent emergency planning body.
The numbers of Canvey residents living in caravans or bungalows has grown. These residents will take priority in an emergency situation. This is further complicated by the ageing population, amongst whom will be residents with varying dis/abilities and health issues – it is believed the numbers and personal issues of these residents remain un-collated and un-registered.
The absence of a log of vulnerable residents and their location is a major emergency planning issue flaw.
The FLOODsite Evacuation and Traffic Management Report recognised that there are only two roads off of Canvey Island and that they merge at Waterside Roundabout. What is not allowed for in the report is the traffic light phasing at Sadlers Farm, likely to cause more serious delays to the published evacuation timings.
The Report refers specifically to the condition of the Canvey Island sea defences:
“It has been found that whilst substantial, these defences show signs of deterioration such as cracks in the concrete, and the degradation of seals between slabs. Metal access doors also represent a weak point with imperfect seals around them, bolts have to be manually placed to shut the gates and bolt holes are prone to get blocked with debris.”
In the event of an emergency situation pre-warning will be dependent on, and limited by, a flood event resulting from a sudden breach of the defences. This situation would almost certainly not allow time for the Environment Agency to issue warning.
In the event that an evacuation was organised and under taken, the FLOODsite projected timings are:
Maximum time to evacuate Canvey assuming vehicles travel at 18.6 mph
Assuming 1,500 vehicle per hour exit capacity 19.7 hours
Assuming 3,000 vehicle per hour exit capacity 13.1 hours
Maximum time to evacuate Canvey assuming vehicles travel at 37.25 mph
Assuming 1,500 vehicle per hour exit capacity 9.5 hours
Assuming 3,000 vehicle per hour exit capacity 6.3 hours
Clearly it would be unusual to achieve the faster 37 mph example given above in any type of emergency scenario.
It would be fair to assume that residents safety is reliant on the ability of the sea defences to withstand any breach.
Castle Point Borough Council must also have total confidence in the sea defences for them to contemplate further housing development.
Only this total confidence can justify adding to the current population that will undoubtedly complicate and hinder any emergency relief required by any vulnerable current residents.