Work is under way to tackle flooding problems in area

ACTION is under way to fight flooding problems in Shripney and Middleton, a senior county councillor has pledged.

Pieter Montyn said the local authority’s campaign had begun to tackle the problems caused by the heaviest rainfall to hit West Sussex in more than a century.

The work which had been started included creating a surface water management plan to combat future flooding at Sack Lane in Lidsey.

Drain and culvert clearance had also been carried out in the Elmer Road, Yapton Road and Comet Corner area of Middleton.

“The county council moved quickly to help the communities worst affected by flooding,” he said.

“Twelve locations in the county have received, or are about to receive, significant drainage improvements.

“This includes work such as reshaping roads, clearing out ditches, installing new pipes and repairing sea outfalls.”

The work – called Operation Watershed – is backed by an £8.25m fund.

County council leader Louise Goldsmith said: “We have already made headway in a number of flooding hotspots, with further locations being tackled throughout spring and summer.

“We are committed to seeing this through and preventing these problems happening again if such dreadful weather ever returned in future.”

The council used some of its reserves to fund the operation. It dedicated £4m of the money towards flood issues.

This is being spent on a range of works such as six surface water management plans, fixing flooding hotspots which appeared last summer and after last Christmas’ downpours and helping schemes put together by other organisations where drainage needs to be improved.

A further £500,000 is being spent on providing extra pothole patrol crews to repair roads damaged by the rainfall.

This is on top of the usual road maintenance budget.

Another £2.5m is available for any consequential damage to the highway once the funding for the projects has been used up.

The remaining £1.2m will go towards supporting community works such as working with private owners to clear ditches.

The county council’s report into the flooding was being discussed at last night’s meeting of the Joint Western Arun Area Committee.

It revealed nearly 800 homes, many of them around Bognor Regis, suffered flooding in last June’s appalling weather.