Villages Action Group calling councillors to sort out Bersted flooding

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There have been countless letters and articles in recent editions of the Observer on the issue of flooding.

These of course are relating to the result of the many extreme periods of wet weather we have experienced in the past year or so.

We are told by the ‘experts’ these types of events are only likely to happen very rarely, say every 100 or 200 years or so.

It is funny then that we have had several of these events within the past year alone, and many others over the previous 20 years which many of your readers will no doubt recall.

Obviously our climate has become much wetter on average, and it seems unfortunately to be a permanent change.

It is now high time the ‘experts’ and our local councillors took this on board.

Their climate models for flood risk are now obviously way out of date with the actual situation that is now facing us all.

And yet they are blindly carrying on with plans for huge housing developments all over Arun District as if nothing has happened.

I am referring, of course, to the multiple plans in our region for large-scale housing estates at Tangmere and a new town to replace the existing villages of Aldingbourne, Eastergate and Barnham.

Cllr Simon McDougall has made much of new pipes being installed for sewerage and drainage.

He is totally over-optimistic that a pipe or two will solve the flooding problems in Bersted.

The simple fact is that this whole area is a flood plain which means it is almost level, with very slow drainage as a consequence.

A few extra pipes will make very little difference when there is another heavy weather event.

I have recently checked with the Association of British Insurers (ABI) who categorically state that: “It is widely predicted that flood risk in the UK will increase in the future due to climate change. Developments should only be approved if the flood risk is acceptable (not more than a one per cent annual probability) not just in the present, but for their full anticipated lifetime, taking account of climate change projections. “

They also state if events are more frequent than this then homeowners could have difficulty obtaining insurance.

They state: “The potential impacts of building in flood-risk areas and then protecting the properties may be local, but equally may be well downstream. It is crucial that local planning authorities are careful about this – otherwise existing properties may find that they suddenly struggle to access insurance.”

I would encourage anyone in the area who has experienced multiple flood events over the past few years to write to their district councillors and MP and advise them to check the ABI website and quote the above statement (and others) to them.

One per cent annual probability means you should expect a real flood ONCE in 100 years.

Does that sound like the frequency that many residents are experiencing?

If a new town of 2,000 houses (as big as Arundel) is built north of Bognor then the extra water run-off and displacement will probably result in many more floods downstream.

Mike Turner

Chairman

Villages Action Group