Tag Archives: Flood Risk

Fair Play for Canvey Island in the light of the Jotmans Decision or are we still a “Special Case”?

And the Necessity for Castle Point Borough Council to produce a Local Plan is?

“National planning policy places Local Plans at the heart of the planning system,”

Even so, the National Planning Policy Framework states as early as Paragraph 14;

“Local Plans should meet objectively assessed needs, with sufficient flexibility to adapt to rapid change, unless:

– any adverse impacts of doing so would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits, when assessed against the policies in this Framework taken as a whole;

or– specific policies in this Framework indicate development should be restricted. 9

Paragraph 14, Footnote 9 Reads; “For example, those policies relating to sites protected under the Birds and Habitats Directives (see paragraph 119) and/or designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest; land designated as Green Belt, Local Green Space, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Heritage Coast or within a National Park (or the Broads Authority); designated heritage assets; and locations at risk of flooding or coastal erosion.”

“so it is essential that they are in place and kept up to date. Local Plans set out a vision and a framework for the future development of the area, addressing needs and opportunities in relation to housing, the economy, community facilities and infrastructure – as well as a basis for safeguarding the environment, adapting to climate change and securing good design.”

The Secretary of State’s decision to dismiss the Jotmans Farm Appeal in the light of the Inspector’s recommendation, raises some questions.

Is the Planning Inspectorate’s reading of the NPPF and Guidance similar to that of the Government’s?

There was agreement between the SoS and the Inspector that, Castle Point Council are only able to identify 0.4 years worth of the required 5 Year deliverable Housing Supply, this is an even worse supply than in 2013 when the SoS considered cpbc had a realistic housing supply of just 0.7 years!

In the case of the Glebelands 2013 Inquiry the SoS used a “totting-up” method of measuring harm to the Green Belt;

“the Secretary of State has identified moderate harm in respect of urban sprawl, moderate harm in respect of the merging of neighbouring settlements, and moderate harm to the visual appearance of this part of the GB.  The Secretary of State considers that together this represents a considerable level of harm. ”

” He also wishes to emphasise that national policy is very clear that GB reviews should be undertaken as part of the Local Plan process.”

So we appear to be in a situation where, as long as Castle Point council are in an apparent perpetual process of Local Plan making, the whole of the local Green Belt can be considered safe from development!

Residents should now be looking for a new, up to date cpbc Green Belt Review, based on the SoS’ guidance and embracing the protection afforded by Footnote 9 of the NPPF.

As was pointed out earlier in this post;

“Local Plans should meet objectively assessed needs, … unless: – ….  specific policies in this Framework indicate development should be restricted – For example, those policies relating to …. land designated as Green Belt, Local Green Space, … and locations at risk of flooding.”

This appears to be the clear desire of the Secretary of State’s interpretation of planning direction. The archived cpbc Green Belt Review was dated 2013 and produced in-house in support of the rejected daft New Local Plan, and clearly out of line with the Secretary of State’s consideration of  levels of “harm.” A new GB Review should be commissioned urgently, indicating the protection available through NPPF Policies and Guidance!

It would appear that the Castle Point council’s Local Plan2016, despite their failure to comply with the Duty to Cooperate with neighbouring local authorities, may have been more in tune with the Secretary of State’s interpretation of what is possible with Local Plan-making and stood a chance of being considered adoptable. Whilst an Inspector may feel the Local Plan2016 was worthy of withdrawal, seeking intervention via the Secretary of State, may supply a different decision, once the Duty to Cooperate has been complied.

More importantly, with Canvey Island in mind, is that NPPF Footnote 9 offers no  difference in the weight and importance that should be applied when considering whether a site is appropriate for development between that of Green Belt or Flood Risk!

Only in the minds of those in Control of Decision-making within Castle Point council, is Canvey Island deemed a “special case”!

If not now, then I do not know when, given the position of the cpbc Local Plan, and the direction given by the SoS, it would be more Timely and more Appropriate for Canvey Island Town Council to undertake a Neighbourhood Plan!

The Secretary of State is clear Footnote 9 should be applied to protect Green Belt from Harm.

It is obvious that an area within a Flood Risk Zone and with unresolved Surface Water Flooding issues, can expect that same level of protection using Neighbourhood Plan Policies under-pinned by that same Footnote 9!

Quite simply Canvey Island is thought to be unlikely to Flood. This is supported by no factual Evidence, simply that it is “unlikely”. The continual loss of Green Space to development on Canvey that serves as potential displacement for flood water, fails to register any concern to the planning decision makers!

The FloodRe insurance scheme is limited, limited so that it specifically discourages development in Flood Risk areas.

The list of properties excluded from the remit of Flood Re has been subject to significant debate however it has been agreed that the following properties will not be covered:

  • All commercial property
  • All residential property constructed since 1 January 2009
  • All purpose-built apartment blocks

Who will weigh this against Financial Sustainability? It appears nobody at Castle Point council!

It is time for the reservations contained within the NPPF Footnote 9 to be considered appropriately and evenly across the whole of Castle Point!

” ” All quotations lifted from the NPPF, Planning Guidance, Glebelands Inquiry and the Jotmans Farm Inquiry.

Can’t Plan, Won’t Plan – Canvey Island getting into Deep Water over Climate Change?

Despite Canvey Island, being surrounded by water and with a “Complex Drainage System,” the subject of Climate Change is buried as deep as Page 165 in the Castle Point unadopted Draft Local Plan2016!

So far, the list reads; No Local Plan, No Neighbourhood Plan, No Town Centre Regeneration Plan, however, what we do have is a TE2100 Plan (Thames Estuary Plan)!

But a Plan is of Little Use if it has a limited chance of  being implemented!

The Environment Agency consider; “The TE2100 Plan is an aspirational document, rather than a definitive policy, so whether the defences are raised in the future will be dependent on a cost benefit analysis and the required funding becoming available.”

There is No Vehicle in place for the collection of Developer Contributions, put in place by Castle Point Council, towards futures Funding for Sea Defence improvements. In the meantime development continues across Castle Point, including that which increases the level of population at Risk of Flooding!

Given that it appears the Earth’s oceans are warming 13% faster than previously calculated, and many of those in local power appear to be Climate Change sceptics, there is Real cause for Concern.

The effects of Sea Level Rise on the Thames will be dramatic, the protection of London will be the priority. The Thames barrier increases Sea Levels in the Estuary and increases the need for space for water.

Quite probably the future sea defence improvements around Canvey Island will be considered between the value of considerable financial expenditure and a practical experiment into the effectiveness of new space for water schemes along the banks of the Thames Estuary.

This should cause considerable debate as to the sensibility of new large Housing Development being distributed towards Canvey Island, however the Local Plan2016’s indicates the local authority Castle Point’s approach to this Flood risk as “there remains a very small probability that they could be overtopped or breached.”

Those residents who suffered their Homes and Property being flooded by the severe floods of 2013 and 2014 will take little comfort with the draft Local Plan2016’s approach to Surface Water flooding;  “Fluvial flooding is also possible from the watercourses and dykes that form the drainage system on Canvey Island.”

Green House Gas Emissions add to Sea Level Rise, Castle Point contribute to the increase. Within the Local Plan2016 it states;

“The Sustainability Appraisal Scoping Report sets out details of the borough’s ecological footprint. In terms of Castle Point’s impact on Climate Change, it is clear that the borough’s ecological footprint is high and likely to be contributing to more extreme weather events.

Paragraph 93 of the NPPF is clear that planning plays a key role in helping shape places to secure radical reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, minimising vulnerability and providing resilience to the impacts of climate change,”

“The strategy in Castle Point therefore needs to be on how the individual can reduce their ecological footprint, and how developments can be planned to encourage this.

The Transport Evidence for the New Local Plan shows that Castle Point suffers congestion at peak times causing queueing at junctions and extended journey times. Congestion results in increased emissions from vehicles, including emissions of green house gases that contribute towards climate change.

Congestion is therefore contributing to both climate change and poor health outcomes for local people.”

Surface Water Flooding on Canvey Island and the Borough;

“The South Essex Surface Water Management Plan 2012 (SWMP) identifies the causes and locations of surface water flooding in the borough and a strategy for the future management of surface water flood risk, taking into account the impacts of climate change. This indicates that when the impacts of climate change are taken into account the likelihood and potential impacts of surface water flooding will be worse in the future than they are now. Extreme rainfall events will be more common and the depth of flood water will increase posing a risk to more properties.”

This is incorrect and out of date information in regards to Canvey Island. This flawed document was eagerly grasped by Castle Point cabinet as being indication that Surface Water Flood Risk affects Borough wide equally. Events in 2013 and 2014 proved cabinet members and officers so wrong!

The SWMP was based on incorrect Historic evidence that had been un-documented, suggesting there had been NO previously recorded flooding events by cpbc officers, particularly where Canvey Island was concerned.

The SWMP remains amongst the local Plan2016 Evidence base despite being incorrect and having been replaced by the more accurate Canvey Island Integrated Urban Drainage study document, albeit incomplete.

Interestingly the Canvey Island Integrated Urban Drainage study, is NOT included within the Local Plan2016 Evidence Base documents!

This may indicate the level of concern for any future Flooding of Canvey Island by cpbc cabinet in general, something current and future residents may wish to make themselves aware of.

The issue of Flood Risk in the Castle Point Local Plan, whichever version, needs to become more prominent and focussed within the Policies.

Residents Safety, Well-Being and Financial Security deserves far more consideration than is currently apparent.

Castle Point Council deserve more investigation and challenge on their approach to Risk.

More information on the latest Sea Level Rise and Climate Change may wish to follow this link to a MSN News article HERE.

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© CSIRO An Argo float is deployed into the ocean

 

Flood Risk! Canvey Island – The “Special Case,” the Sequential Test and the time to Reconsider!

The Approval of Flats in Canvey Town Centre caused Canvey councillors to mention fears of flooding.

Usually levels of development in areas liable to Flood would be restricted through planning, by consideration of the Sequential Test. This Test proposes that inappropriate development in areas at risk of flooding should be avoided by directing development away from areas at highest risk.

The effect of the policy approach of Castle Point council is to continue to increase the numbers of population at Risk of Flooding on Canvey Island.

CPBC justifies this by suggesting that “Canvey Island is a Distinctive Community. It has specific identified needs in terms of social, economic and physical regeneration, as well as housing.”

The result is that due to the 40% increase in population, since Canvey fell under the control of castle point council, there is a perpetual need for a never ending supply of Housing Development on the Island!

This is regardless that the Need for Housing is calculated as a Borough-wide figure.

The fact that it is admitted that there is “a need to maintain the population living in the flood risk zone at current levels or lower” on Canvey Island, has not deterred a reckless approach to the distribution of Housing Growth by the local authority!

This policy of increasing the numbers of population at Risk of Flooding and the deliberate manipulation of the Sequential Test stems from the efforts to label Canvey Island a “Special Case”!

Echo June 2008

DEVELOPERS seeking to build new homes on Canvey are being forced to think again because of growing fears about flooding.

The Environment Agency is resolutely pursuing its policy of recommending refusal of plans to build new homes on the island because Canvey is below sea level and therefore on a flood plain.

Castle Point Council is taking those recommendations to heart and rejecting applications for new homes, leaving some developers in limbo.

The council has pledged to continue upholding the Environment Agency’s recommendations until the results of a Government-initiated inquiry into flood plains publishes its findings.

The Government appointed Sir Michael Pitt to carry out the study, following catastrophic floods in Hull after heavy rainfall in June and July last year. It is likely the final report expected, this summer, will recommend tighter restrictions.

Ray Howard, Castle Point and Essex county councillor, said local authorities were reluctant to ignore the Environment Agency’s advice, while they are waiting for the results of the Pitt Report.

Mr Howard has received many letters from people struggling to build on Canvey.

He said: “It’s a big problem that needs to be looked at. We can’t have a blanket ban for building here.

“I believe Canvey is unique, as it has the best flood walls and flood water drainage system in the country.

“The flood plain rules should be relaxed for us.”

Last week localised flooding on the island, caused by heavy rainfall, affected hundreds of residents on the island.

But Mr Howard is convinced it is well protected against severe flooding from the Thames Estuary.

A total of £34 million was spent rebuilding Canvey’s sea walls in the 1970s and 1980s.

A further £6 million was spent last year on 14 giant pumps, spread around the island to force water back into the sea if the walls are ever breached.

Mr Howard said: “The reason Canvey is always considered high-risk is because of the 1953 flood.

“But back then the only sea defences were soil walls, built by the original Dutch settlers.”

Despite Mr Howard’s insistence that Canvey is well protected, the Environment Agency refused to budge from its policy of objecting to all new homes on flood plains.

Spokeswoman Rita Penman insisted the Environment Agency could not relax its planning guidelines for Canvey, even for special cases.

She said: “Although Canvey is well defended, the current understanding across the country is that if there are other areas not on the flood plains, they should be developed first.

“This is in the interests of everyone’s safety. We are therefore unable to recommend approval for any new developments on Canvey at the present time.”

Even if the Government report clears the way for new homes on flood plains, insurers are warning hundreds of thousands of homes built in high-risk areas may not qualify for insurance.

Nick Starling, the Association of British Insurers’ director of general insurance and health, said: “Poor planning decisions will lead to more homes becoming unsaleable, uninsurable and uninhabitable”

Consequently in 2007 a Planning committee meeting considered, and were asked to “Note” the freedoms of decision making that were pleaded for, and “seemingly” allowed by the Environment Agency, in considering Canvey a “Special Case” that has led to the abuse of the levels of development we continue to see proposed.

How things have changed, in such a short space of time!

Since then we have received a concerning Strategic Flood Risk Assessment for Canvey Island in 2010, and suffered two Surface Water Flooding Events during 2013 and 2014!

Whether a Planning committee should have the power to approve such a policy with the potential to impact Canvey Island, or whether members were all actually made aware of the policy’s implications, is dubious to say the least.

Whether the 2007 planning committee meeting decision to allow increasing levels of population at Risk should now be re-considered in the light of the ominous Flood Risk Assessment and the Flooding incidents, appears obvious!

Floods 2014

The Full text of the Echo article can be read HERE.

Canvey Flats, Foksville Road, Flood Risk responsibility and Lack of Parking Spaces!

 

 

Proof that Canvey Island is indeed a Special Case! Death of the Regeneration scheme and (more) Flats set for Approval!

Yet MORE Flats for Canvey Island can be expected for Approval during next Tuesday’s, March 2017 meeting of the cpbc Development Committee.

The rights and wrongs will be the subject of some probably pointless discussion as flats and town centres seem to go together, yet some of the officer’s ramblings within the agenda paperwork are flimsy to say the least!

Using extracts lifted from the officers agenda paperwork, in italics:-

“Government’s clear expectation is that the answer to development and growth should wherever possible be ‘yes’, except where this would compromise the key sustainable development principles set out in national planning policy.”

Concerns around National Planning Policy are generally discounted where development and constraints of the type affecting Canvey are concerned.

There is a clear and recognised need for additional housing provision within the borough and as such a presumption in favour of the development of the site for residential purposes exists”

This makes a mockery of the Canvey being a “special case” argument. If it were truly to be treated as a “special case” the levels of development and population would have been examined, taking into account the Flood Risk, the location of the 2 Comah sites and the access / egress issues!

What “special case” means in Canvey’s respect is that development will be approved regardless of Constraints!

The site is within the town centre but not located within a primary shopping frontage. It is isolated from the nearby core retail area by reason of the busy one way road system of the town”

I am sorry I must be missing something here; I thought the site adjoined the High Street parade of retail premises, agreed it is a former dairy but since then has more laterly a DIY outlet.

CCA_news_img1_lrg

Photo Courtesy: canveycomesalive

However, whilst the Canvey Town Centre Master Plan is an adopted policy document it is at an embryonic stage and something of an aspirational document with limited commercial commitment. The proposals within the plan will not be delivered in the short or medium term and are unlikely to come to fruition in their current form”

This statement is quite some admittance from Castle Point council! After, what many residents claimed, many wasted years of council taxpayers money on maintaining a “Regeneration” shop in the Knightswick centre, it appears the Canvey Town Centre scheme is no further forward.

Used to support an ailing Core Strategy and Local Plan it is now accepted as an Aspirational, Long Term dream!

As pie in the sky as this scheme was, should not excuse the desire to improve the visual aspect of the Town Centre, contained within the Regeneration scheme.

Developers should be tied to providing a building design matching those contained within the regeneration scheme, before any development plans are accepted for consideration! A Plan of any Sort, in this case, would be better than None.

The development, along with the rest of Canvey Island, is located in Flood Zone 3 which has the highest probability of flooding. Whilst sequential testing aims to steer new development to the area with the lowest possible probability of flooding, it is an established principle that Canvey has development needs which need to be met on Canvey if the settlement is not to be economically blighted, therefore the sequential test is considered to be passed.”

The use of the term “accepted principle” as in the sentence above, is a Castle Point council preference used as a means to locate “additional housing provision within the borough” on Canvey Island rather than in more politically sensitive locations, it is not even a Policy!

“19 spaces are therefore required but only 12 are provided on site. However in town centre locations where there is good access to public transport and other facilities it would be appropriate for the planning authority to accept lower levels of parking provision.”

Records indicate that, whether in a Town Centre, or not, cpbc are content and consistent especially on Canvey Island, in permitting the under-supply of parking spaces.

This 3 storey development that could and should provide the perfect opportunity in a Flood Risk Zone, to use the Ground Floor as secure parking and utility space!

Canvey Island is indeed a “Special Case”!

Oh and by the way before you get too excited, an application for 10 dwellings need supply 0 (Zero) Affordable Dwellings.

 

 

 

Canvey Island Flood Risks – brought to Parliament!

“Planning conditions can be flouted, and they are sometimes not properly enforced.”

Parliament debated “FUTURE FLOOD PREVENTION” and further resources totalling £582,310,000 in the House of Commons on the 27th February.

envagencyanglia-1

EnvAgencyAnglia photo

Photograph courtesy; Environment Agency Anglia; Canvey Island February 2017

Neil Parish opened the debate and mentioned, “One problem is that, if we are not careful, people living in an area with a “one in 100 years” risk which is flooded are inclined to think that they will be safe from floods for another 99 years. Of course, that is not the case. An area with a high flood risk will continue to have that risk until better defences are created or resilience measures are introduced, and it will probably always be a pretty high-risk area.”

His reference to “1 in 100 years risk”, and peoples understanding of it, indicates how slowly changes are put in place. This was one of the recommendations following the Report and Review into the Canvey Island Flooding of 2014, that a more straight forward and easier description of flood risk was brought into use!

“The report states that firefighters provide a vital “first-line service” to flooded areas”

Strange then that they were discontinued as statutory consultees in the planning process locally, after continually stating they were only able to guarantee a response during a life or death situation due to a lack of resources. It is hard to imagine, following the fire and rescue service cut backs of late, that they are better placed now to become a fully effective “first-line service”!

Castle Point MP Rebecca Harris participated in the debate. However some of what she said appeared to expand the theory, long spun amongst residents, that our defences are impenetrable. Our sea defences do not compare with the Netherlands and are indeed liable to over-topping in parts under certain conditions (cpbc SFRA 2010).

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 (flood defence failure) occurring is low, the consequences should it happen would be very high.

Referring to the evacuation of Jaywick, whilst Canvey Island residents were considered safe, suggests that an evacuation of Canvey Island was possible. The potential time required, upto 19+ hours, would make this unlikely, and in the event of a Breach, impossible.

One thing that requires clarity is, given the extraordinary amount of work already carried out across Canvey Island, whether the request to Government for £24,500,000 required to repair our broken drainage system still stands. All appears to have become silent following cpbc representatives being told to return with specific details of work necessary and estimates of costings to evidence the sums requested.

Nevertheless to have our MP stand in Parliament to put forward the issues of the Flood Risks to Canvey Island, and the level of work needed to simply maintain the drainage system, can be no bad thing.

Rebecca Harris, Castle Point

“The financing of flood defences is of absolutely paramount importance to my constituents, as my borough has been hit by flooding on a number of occasions, most notoriously the devastating North sea flood of 1953, which breached the old Canvey Island sea wall defences and caused the loss of life of 58 residents and the evacuation of the entire remaining population. To avert a similar catastrophe, the island is now protected by a concrete wall that runs along its entire 28 km to protect the population of 40,000 from tidal surges. This wall is still judged to be good for a one-in-1,000-years event. I note that the residents of Canvey Island were not encouraged to evacuate because of a threatened tidal surge when those of Jaywick were. The wall is judged to be sound right up until the end of this century provided that there is regular monitoring and maintenance. The concern of my residents is to ensure that the money is always there to make sure that we are upgrading the maintenance.

Notwithstanding how good the sea walls are, Canvey Island and other parts of my borough, including South Benfleet and Hadleigh, still remain subject to a serious risk of surface water flooding, as occurred dramatically in the summer of 2013 and again in 2014, when homes right across the borough were flooded, including 1,000 homes on the island alone. Despite the great sea defences, this is a serious problem for an island that remains 1 metre below sea level at high tide and is entirely flat. It presents a particular problem for effective surface water drainage. There was an absolute outcry in 2014 at the second significant flooding event in less than 11 months. That led to calls for an investigation into whether this could be dismissed as a mere act of God or whether much more serious defects in the water management system were at fault, and what measures were needed to be put in place to assure residents that it would not occur again. I was extremely grateful to the then Cabinet Office Ministers and Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, who agreed to an investigation by the Government chief scientist, Sir Mark Walport, to establish the facts and make recommendations for the various agencies locally. His report found that the coincidence of extreme rainfall, problems with the performance of the drainage system, a power cut, and pumps overheating and tripping out were all foreseeable, although unusual, and many could be avoided in future. Sir Mark made a number of recommendations, the majority of which, I am pleased to say, have already been acted on.

Since those last floods, an extraordinary amount of work has taken place right across Castle Point, with considerable amounts of money spent on improvements and mitigation measures. The Environment Agency has invested large sums in improvements to its eight sluices and 13 pumping stations. In this financial year alone, it has invested over £500,000, including £89,000 on the Benfleet and East Haven barriers, which are key to protecting South Benfleet as well as the island. Webcams have been installed to monitor pumps and ditches. Some £620,000 has been spent on refurbishing 28 floodgates, and the remaining six will be completed by the end of this year.

The county council and Anglian Water have worked hard to map the drainage network underground and to make thousands of repairs and remove blockages in the system, as well as identifying the most serious faults. Anglian Water has invested millions since 2014 and has also been highly proactive in a public awareness campaign locally to raise the critical importance of maintaining free-flowing water courses. The county council is undertaking a huge rolling programme of property-level protection, with grants of up to £5,000 for homes affected by flooding previously.

The improved partnership working of Essex County Council, Anglian Water, the Environment Agency and the Essex fire and rescue service, as recommended by the chief scientist, is exemplary and has even resulted in a national award. Although the investigation focused on the island, improvements in multi-agency co-operation have had real benefits for the entire borough and it is now an exemplar for the rest of the UK.

The partnership has concluded a comprehensive urban drainage study of the problems underground and to model any future problems, to help make sure that this does not happen to my borough again. Proposals include the creation of additional storage ditches on roadsides and open areas, green roofs, water butts, porous paving and increased pipe sizes. It will shortly submit bids for some of those projects to the South East local enterprise partnership and central Government.

Previously, DEFRA Ministers have supported our bids. I hope that the Government will continue that support, acknowledge the economic importance of those bids and stress, not only to my LEP but to others, the importance of flood alleviation schemes in ensuring that communities remain economically viable. It is absolutely essential for the continued economic regeneration of my borough that it is recognised as protected from non-tidal surface water, as well as from tidal flood risk, especially given the increased likelihood of future events.

My borough is grateful for the introduction of the Flood Re scheme, which means that residents are not priced out of insuring their homes. It is not, however, available to businesses in my area. I hope that more work can be done in that regard, because a lot of them suffer great hardship. Nor does the scheme apply to new builds. I urge the Government to do more to ensure that there is better defence of our floodplains from developers and to press planning departments to incorporate more surface water mitigation for developments. Perhaps they could even reverse developers’ current right to connect surface water to the sewerage system, as it does not incentivise them to consider sustainable drainage systems.

I am conscious that time is short, so I will end by encouraging the Minister to visit Castle Point, if she can find the time in her diary, to see the incredible work that has been done in Benfleet and on Canvey Island, and to meet local agencies to discuss what more is needed and how we can further help the borough.”

Hansard’s record of the full debate can be reached HERE.

 

Neither Tidal nor Surface Water Flood Risk a Constraint on Development, where Castle Point Council are concerned!

The issue of potential Flooding remains a Hot Topic. That is as it should be, however as we have seen within Castle Point Council it only acts as a Development Constraint verbally, rather than effectively.

The responsibility on Flood Risk should fall squarely on the shoulders of council members, but other interests and “fear” of scaremongering, in effect mean that Flood Risk as a Constraint on Development is disregarded.

Floods 2014 pic via Police Helicopter

View of Canvey Island flooding from Police Helicopter July 2014

The Environment Agency adopt a position where residents safety over the lifetime of a new development is left to council members, Canvey Island and mainland residents Representatives.

The EA consider;

“The site is currently protected by flood defences so is not at risk of flooding in the present-day 0.0% (1 in 1000) annual probability flood event. The defences will continue to offer protection over the lifetime of the development, provided that the TE2100 policy is followed and the defences are raised in line with climate change, which is dependent on future funding.” 

The Island’s Flood Risk Assessment confirms over topping will be a concern prior to the year 2100!

There are no guarantees of this future funding and residents may be surprised to know that much of this funding must be raised locally. Councillors should be in a position to inform us of the sources of this funding and of the avenues in place for the collection of these monies, if they are confident that the sea defences will receive the necessary improvements so as to have confidence any new builds that they approve, will be safe over its Lifetime!

The EA give further warning;

“Although Canvey Island is defended to a high standard of protection, it is at risk should there be a flood defence failure” 

Of course the official position of cpbc appears to be that as long as there is space provided for safe refuge areas above the ground floor, development is acceptable.

A somewhat contradictory position in respect that if Canvey Island could not Flood, the safe refuge requirement would be un-necessary.

Government and Defra continue to fumble about giving residents no security whilst planners and developers take advantage of the lack of a clear position.

The BBC Report;

The Commons environment committee said ministers were not addressing what it called the fragmented, inefficient and ineffective flood management.

Areas of concern include flood impact home insurance, building rules and local authority planning decisions.

The government rejected the criticism, saying it had accepted many previous suggestions on flooding from the MPs.

The committee’s comments are the latest in a running tussle between MPs and the environment department Defra.

 The MPs admit that flooding has risen up the government’s priority list, and say “considerable work” on flooding is being done across Whitehall. But they complain that ministers are still ignoring reasonable demands.

Jim Fitzpatrick MP, acting chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee (Efra), said: “People living in areas of flood risk need to be reassured that the government is acting to improve our disjointed flood management system.

“Defra has failed to give sufficient justification for its rejection of our recommendations for important new measures.”

Continued development also increases pressure on Canvey Island’s drainage system, already capable of failure through misuse and lack of maintenance. Housing and Business development means Roads, Parking areas and hard impermeable surfaces intensify this issue as development approvals continue unabated.

This move to develop more and more areas of grass land on Canvey must be considered in the light of it inevitably increasing the likelihood of Surface Water Flooding, a warning of this issue is contained in a Research paper by Dr David Kelly. Its relevance to Canvey Island should be considered Striking!

It should be remembered that, whilst the sea defences have some ability to stop the Tide from over topping, they have absolutely no effect in stopping the Tidal Water from penetrating the ground from beneath, and causing flooding and a High Water Table by that means!

Impact of paved front gardens on current and future urban flooding” Research Paper by Dr D.A.Kelly

The proliferation of paved gardens is putting the UK’s towns and cities at greater risk of flooding and, by 2080, the UK’s urban drainage system could be overwhelmed by ‘runoff’ equivalent to the volume of up to 100 Olympic-sized swimming pools.  

The potential impact that paved gardens could have on urban flooding in Edinburgh, Exeter, Manchester and London by 2050 and 2080 was examined by Dr David Kelly, associate professor in Heriot-Watt’s Water Academy. 

Many gardens in the UK have been paved by homeowners who want low maintenance gardens or off-street parking. Covering traditional gardens with hard paving, and the subsequent loss of green vegetation, reduces the amount of rainfall that can be dealt with naturally and significantly increases the rate and volume of runoff flowing to surface water drainage systems. 

Dr Kelly applied projected rainfall intensities for each of the four UK cities to simulated front gardens that reflect the trends for paving. 

Calculating the runoff contribution from new and existing paved gardens will help planners and policy makers identify areas of risk in their town and city – and decide whether to call for homeowners to depave. Additionally, data of runoff from individual paved gardens could highlight the need for behaviour change, and help encourage homeowners to take action themselves by depaving their gardens and enhancing green vegetation.

Dr Kelly, assistant professor in Heriot-Watt University’s Water Institute said: “Domestic front gardens cover almost 30% of our urban space and play a vital role in managing surface water runoff in towns and cities. 

“Existing urban drainage systems will be inadequate to cope with the level of increased runoff from paved front gardens. With runoff from all impermeable surfaces, including paved front gardens, likely to increase in future due to urban densification, the risk of urban flooding will increase unless substantial efforts are made to minimise runoff.”

Homeowners and policymakers need to focus on depaving gardens across the UK.

Dr Kelly’s research showed that the collective runoff by the 2080s from front gardens alone is expected to increase by substantial amounts during extreme storm events due to climate change. 

“In Edinburgh, considering only gardens that are currently at least three-quarters paved, during just one storm, runoff could increase to 29,000m3 across the city, equivalent to 12 Olympic swimming pools, by 2080.”  

“In London, the volume of runoff could increase up to as much as 278,000m3 (equivalent to 100 Olympic swimming pools). ” 

“But, if all of these gardens were depaved and had zero impermeable cover, then the runoff could almost be eliminated, particularly if combined with enhanced green vegetation solutions.”

 D.A.Kelly’s research paper; “Impact of paved front gardens on current and future urban flooding” can be found HERE

The full BBC Environment Parliamentary Report can be found HERE.