THE Environment Agency (EA) has recommended to do ‘minimal’ work to bolster up Climping’s coastal defences.
The news was broken on Monday (November 17) as the organisation launched its eight-week consultation on draft plans to manage flood and erosion risk along the village and up the west bank of the River Arun.
This ‘do minimum’ proposal is an improvement over the agency’s original one of withdrawing maintenance all together.
It now means that, if approved, it will see the existing defences being maintained on a ‘patch and repair’ basis to prolong their life as long as possible.
Henry Burrell, of Atherington Farm, in Climping Street, is one of those living closest to the sea in the village.
He said he was pleased that the Environment Agency was doing something to maintain the sea defences but was concerned that it would not be enough.
Speaking to the Gazette, he felt more focus should be made constructing a ‘finger’ out to sea which could help shore up the natural shingle defence on the beach.
“It’s impossible to have a sea wall high enough to stop all potential flooding but this could be a cheaper more efficient option,” he said.
The draft strategy for this stretch of coastline was first produced in 2009 and was put out to consultation with the affected communities. In response to some of the comments received, the EA undertook more detailed work looking at the costs and benefits of maintaining the existing Climping sea defences.
It was determined that, due to the low number of properties at risk, there was still ‘very limited justification’ to ‘invest significant amounts of public money in the future to replace or improve the sea defences’.
Andrew Gilham, area flood and coastal risk manager said: “It is essential that we take a long-term view of managing flooding and erosion risks, based upon sound evidence.
“Difficult decisions will need to be taken, but it is important that we work with communities in vulnerable areas to inform them of the risks and help them understand the role they need to play.”
Residents are being urged to view and comment on the recommendations. To download, see here
Alternatively, people can call 03708 506506, email at email@example.com or write to SSD Enquiries, Environment Agency, Guildbourne House, Chatsworth Road, Worthing, BN11 1LD.