Pushing For More Investment in Flood Defences Across Castle Point

Rebecca has made it her personal mission to ensure that the terrible flooding that happened across Castle Point in July 2014 does not happen again. She convened all the different flood agencies together to make sure the co-ordinated their response and as a result secured £20 million of investment which has now been put in place. She also strongly welcomed the Government's £75 million investment in a new Canvey sea wall, protecting residents for many years to come.


MARCH 2023:

The Environment Agency is set to begin the renewal of flood defence revetment this financial year, 2022/23, bringing huge improvements to the seafront and shoreline. This £75 million project will renew Canvey Island’s existing flood defences along the 3-kilometre stretch of the Island’s southern seafront.

This will ensure the Island is better protected against coastal erosion for a further 50 years, far more able to deal with the effects of climate change and rising sea levels. The work will also include improved public access along the main walkway by widening it at the narrowest areas, providing passing areas at the bottom of steps and ramps. New steps, information boards, markers and resurfacing of the pathway between Thorney Bay and Chapman Sands will also take place as part of the project.

This project is being funded as part of the Government’s £5.2 Billion Flood and Coastal and Erosion Investment Plan. Canvey Island has been identified as one of the areas within the Plan.

This Investment Plan sets out how 2,000 new schemes will be funded to protect 336,000 properties by 2027, to avoid £32 billion in economic damage and reduce the overall national flooding risk by up to 11%. This follows on from the Environment Agency’s successful rollout of the Government’s previous £2.6 billion Investment Plan from 2015-2021. The work forms part of the Thames Estuary Asset Management 2100 Programme. This is a 10-year project to improve existing flood defences and is the single largest flood risk programme in the UK, repairing and replacing the most at-risk assets.

Full information can be found here: www.rebeccaharris.org/canvey-island-flood-defences



Rebecca has welcomed the news that the four agencies responsible for helping prevent homes from flooding in Castle Point have committed to work together to deliver on the recommendations of a key report released earlier this autumn into flooding across Benfleet, Thundersley, Hadleigh and Canvey last year on 20th October.

The commitment was given at a meeting called by Rebecca in the House of Commons. At the meeting Anglian Water, Castle Point Borough Council, the Environment Agency and Essex County Council agreed to continue to work together to ensure all the recommendations in the report were delivered to better prevent flooding across Castle Point in the future.

The 11 recommendations of the ‘Section 19’ Report by Essex County Council into that flooding include exploring the need for new sustainable water management measures that optimise the local drainage networks and the creation of a new separate storm water network around badly affected areas. The recommendations also include reviews into the Local Flood Risk Management Strategy and Surface Water Management Plan, two documents that inform local housing planning policy for the Borough.



In July, Castle Point MP Rebecca Harris met with Ministers from the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Department for Communities and Local Government to make the case to get more cash to protect Castle Point where she secured a £20 million investment boost for local flood defences.

Chancellor George Osborne said: “Castle Point was severely impacted again by flash flooding this summer, a reminder of the threat families and businesses here and across the country face from flooding. That’s why we are setting out a clear investment programme in the flood defences, and we are spending more than ever before. “And I am delighted to commit over £20 million to boost flood defences. The case for this funding has been brilliantly championed by Rebecca Harris, the Conservative MP, who has led a strong campaign. She has secured vital investment for the families and businesses she represents.”

Commenting at the time, Rebecca said: “The flood damage we have seen in the last two summers has been devastating, and we need long-term investment in our flood defences. I have been making that argument loud and clear in Westminster. I’m delighted the Chancellor has committed to this investment. It will have a real impact, bringing more security and peace of mind over the coming years.”


JULY 2014:

In the immediate aftermath of the flooding, at Rebecca's request, the new Secretary of State for the Environment, Liz Truss MP, came to see first-hand the devastation of Sunday’s flooding and be presented with the information gathered on it. She was accompanied by the National Head of the Environment Agency Paul Leinster and visited one of the pumping stations on the Island.

The Secretary of State agreed to Rebecca's request for an independent investigation by the Government’s Chief Scientific Advisor and the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and her support for Rebecca's pledge to find answers for Canvey residents.

Rebecca also held an emergency meeting at the House of Commons with representatives from Castle Point Council, Essex County Council, Anglian Water and the Environment Agency in attendance. As well as senior Government officials from the Department for Communities and Local Government and DEFRA. Robin Walker MP, the Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. The agencies agreed to put extra resources into clearing the drains around Castle Point more quickly and put out bulletins to local residents on the scheduled work being undertaken in their area. 

The reports by the Government's Chief Scientific Advisor and DEFRA looking into the causes of the flooding and what the local agencies had to do to prevent it happening again have now been published and Rebecca is personally scrutinising how well the various agencies are taking on board the recommendations. 

Rebecca has also been working hard to lobby the Government for an extension in the ‘Repair and Renew Grant’ for flood hit homes, fighting for Government money to be allocated for improvements to the flooding infrastructure on Canvey. 

The FloodRe scheme has now gone live and enables insurers to offer competitive premiums and lower excesses to high flood risk homes across the UK, which should hopefully be of benefit to the many people affected by flooding on Canvey who have been struggling to get affordable home insurance. Further information on FloodRe can be found on the FAQs document attached to this page or by visiting the FloodRe website: http://www.floodre.co.uk/ 

If you would like to contact Rebecca to discuss your flooding concerns please see the contact details on the homepage or use the contact form on Rebecca's website. 

For anyone who was affected by the floods, a dedicated website has been set up by Anglian Water, Essex County Council, Castle Point Borough Council and Essex Highways to provide updates from those bodies. This site also contains links to the various reports published on the floods last year including the report of the Government's Chief Scientific Officer, Sir Mark Walpot. You can find this website here: http://www.canveyflood.co.uk/