Answers sought for lack of flood warning

AN URGENT response is being sought by the Bognor Regis MP to the lack of a flood warning system for many town residents.

Nick Gibb told parliament on Monday he was concerned at the absence of the Environment Agency’s flood alert service from a host of addresses around the town.

C140013-2 Bog Flooding  phot kate''Flood in the road at Lidsey.Picture by Kate Shemilt.C140013-2

C140013-2 Bog Flooding phot kate''Flood in the road at Lidsey.Picture by Kate Shemilt.C140013-2

Mr Gibb, the Conservative MP for Bognor Regis and Littlehampton, used a statement about flooding by the environment secretary, Owen Paterson, to the House of Commons to tackle him about the situation.

He asked Mr Paterson to ensure the service was available to all residents of Bognor because the town had suffered serious flooding in June, 2012.

Mr Paterson recommended Mr Gibb raise the matter with the under-secretary of state, Dan Rogerson, at the department for the environment, farming and rural affairs.

That would allow the matter to be put ‘in the mix and work with the Environment Agency on it’.

Afterwards, Mr Gibb said: “The Environment Agency’s flood alert service is crucial for residents in Bognor.

“As a low lying coastal plain, surface water drainage is a significant issue and, after prolonged periods of rain, can lead to serious flooding.”

“Advance warning of possible flooding enables people to take action to protect their homes, particularly those residents who have suffered flooding problems in the past.

“I was concerned, therefore, to discover many residents do not have access to the agency’s flood alert service,” said Mr Gibb.

“Their website invites residents to sign up for the flood warnings and request registrations.

“Bognor residents, however, are likely to receive the message that the service ‘does not provide warnings for this address’.

“As suggested by the secretary of state, I have written to the minister with responsibility for the agency urging him to address this problem as a matter of urgency.”

An Environment Agency spokesman said 4,800 homes out of some 5,500 in the Bognor and Littlehampton areas at risk of flooding from rivers and seas had signed up its flood warnings.

“It’s probable those local residents who tried to sign up to flood warnings but were unable to because they live outside the area we designate at risk of flooding from rivers and sea.” Surface water flooding was excluded from the service.