Time to brief our MP? Canvey Island at the forefront of Flooding Issues, whilst CPBC covers up?

The National Flood Forum tweeted

“A great opportunity to get communities’ flooding issues debated. Time to brief your MP and ask them to participate.”

This was the Forum’s reaction to an announcement by The House of Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee:-

We’ve secured a debate in the Chamber on 27 Feb, pending the House’s agreement tonight, with on our flooding Reports

Regarding the now regular Flooding Events that occur in the UK, much has been spoken, reported and recorded. Monies have been promised and Budgets have been set.

Nothing matches the Flooding Prevention approach and outlay committed in the Netherlands.

However locally in Castle Point, the situation appears worse still.

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There exists what may be a false sense of security concerning the perceived infallibility of the Sea Defences. The seeds of apathy have manifested from residents being comforted by the Defences being the very “best in the Country”!

The Environment Agency’s view regarding the Canvey Sea Defences is;

” Although Canvey Island is defended to a high standard of protection, it is at risk should there be a flood defence failure. This residual flood risk should be considered, as although the likelihood of it occurring is low, the consequences should it happen would be very high.”

Climate Change and Rising Sea Levels mean that the Sea Defences will require improvements to the current standards before the year 2100.

In February 2015 a Commons Select Committee conceded;

“The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee queries Government plans to attract £600 million from external funders to bolster flood defences. In its report on Defra Performance in 2013-14, the cross-party Committee cites low levels of private funding attracted to date as a cause for concern about ambitious future plans.”

This matter was tentatively raised, and disputed by the applicant, during the Thorney Bay Application in Principle to redevelop the Caravan Park. A sum of around £100,000 was suggested as being appropriate contribution towards the necessary future Sea Defence Improvements by the applicant.

Since then, enquiries by the Canvey Green Belt Campaign group have revealed that Castle Point Council officers concede they have no mechanism in place for the collection of such Funds. Consequently no request towards the necessary external funding has been made by cpbc during the consideration of the application for the First Phase of the Thorney Bay development!

This further undermines the attempts by Defra and the Government to implement the Aspirations of the TE2100 (Thames Estuary) Plans for Canvey Island.

The Surface Water Flooding of Canvey Island during 2013 and 2014 were severe enough to warrant the Government Office for Science to undertake a Peer review of Essex County Council’s report on the Canvey Island flooding in July 2014.

The Government Office for Science Peer Review can be found HERE.

The Essex County Council Report into Canvey Island Flooding 2014 can be found HERE.

The Environment Agency consider the Canvey Island Drainage System as being “complicated”.

It is reliant on Gravity, as the Island is so flat, for water to reach the Pumps that are installed to transfer surface water to the Thames Estuary.

These pumps will not cope with the levels of water should there be Tidal Flooding, and failed during the 2014 Flooding event, requiring improvements to the mechanisms.

Maintenance is a continual requirement to Drains and Ditches. The Environment Agency and Essex County Highways division are affected by ongoing budget constraints, meaning Maintenance may be insufficient at any particular time.

These issue were all revealed during the report and enquiry following the 2014 flooding.

Alongside the Essex County Council Report and the Government Office for Science Peer Review, Castle Point Council’s Scrutiny Committee held a series of meetings during 2014 and earl 2015, to investigate the effects, the impact, the response and the causes of the Canvey Island Surface Water Flooding event.

The Castle Point Council Scrutiny Committee’s Report into the Canvey Island Flooding of 2014 remains Unpublished!

The Castle Point Council Webcasts of the Scrutiny Committee meetings are now unavailable!

Neither the Essex County Council Report into the Canvey Island Flooding of 2014, nor the Government Office for Science Peer Review are included within the cpbc Local Plan2016 Evidence Base! 

The Canvey Island Integrated Urban Drainage Study, is included in the cpbc Local Plan2016 Evidence Base in the form of a desk top published aspirational leaflet!

No Fund gathering mechanism is in place to collect the required External Funding for the future improvements of the Canvey Sea Defences.

In response to the National Flood Forum’s suggestion “Time to brief your MP and ask them to participate,” there appears plenty of concerns for our Local representatives to be lobbying our MP Rebecca Harris to participate over!

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2 responses to “Time to brief our MP? Canvey Island at the forefront of Flooding Issues, whilst CPBC covers up?

  1. Of course this is important for future development, but let’s not take our eye off the ball with the current position everytime we have heavy rain. Have you seen a gutter sweeper down your road recently? I raised this at the last forum meeting. The roads at the Point are full of detritus material which is destination will be literally down the drain. Around me we already have drains blocked up. Is the drain outside your house blocked or is your road’s gutters full of detritus material (grit, leaves, litter etc)? If so PLEASE email the Council, complain to your Councillors. Essex County Council maybe responsible, but it is Castle Point Council’s job to ensure it is done. If the gutters and drains are not kept clear heavy rain will mean flooding again.

  2. The logistical nightmare that no one wants to face up too for fear of frightening people disproportionately includes the following:-

    Castle Point Borough Councils current Strategic Flood Risk Assessment,
    Emergency Evacuation Plans
    10.4.6 The Civil Contingencies Act 2004 delivers a single framework for civil protection. Castle Point BC are designated as a Category 1 responder and have a legal duty to assess local risks and use this information to inform emergency planning, put in place emergency plans and put in place arrangements to warn, inform and advise the public in the event of an emergency.
    10.4.7 The Civil Contingencies Act (2004) defines an emergency as:
    • An event or situation which threatens serious damage to human welfare (e.g. loss of life, injury, damage to property).
    • An event or situation which threatens serious damage to the environment (e.g. contamination).
    10.4.8 Flood Warning and Emergency Procedures tend to form part of a higher level emergency management plans for the wider area including information such as repair procedures, evacuation routes, refuge areas, flood warning dissemination and responsibilities.
    10.4.9 Evacuation is where flood warnings provided by the Environment Agency can enable timely evacuation of residents to take place unaided, i.e. without the deployment of trained personnel to help people from their homes, businesses and other premises. Rescue by the emergency services is likely to be required where flooding has occurred and prior evacuation has not been possible.
    10.4.10 Castle Point BC is required to have a detailed emergency plan specific to the risks and needs of their administrative area. The Plan should use the information generated by this SFRA to identify suitable evacuation routes and rest centres within the borough.
    10.4.11 Evacuation Plans for individual developments located within areas at risk of flooding should be prepared by developers in conjunction with the borough-wide Emergency Plan to direct people to safety during times of flood.
    This may include details of flood warning mechanisms and an evacuation route away from the site to an area outside the floodplain in cases where flood warning delivery times would allow for this or to a place of safe refuge within the development itself if insufficient time is available to evacuate and/or the emergency services advise against evacuation.
    10.4.12 When submitting FRAs for developments within flood risk areas, developers should make reference to this strategic Emergency Plan and Environment Agency flood warning systems to demonstrate that their development will not impact on the ability of Castle Point BC and the emergency services to safeguard the current population.
    The flood hazard in a particular area must be viewed in the context of the potential evacuation and rescue routes to and from that area and discussed as part of a site specific FRA.

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