Southend to become national exemplar for flood and coastal erosion risk management

The council’s cabinet will discuss the submission of an outline business case for the innovative Catchment to Coast project tomorrow (Tuesday 22nd February).

Palm trees by the coast in Southend-on-Sea.

The business case is due to be submitted to DEFRA by the Catchment to Coast Partnership, and seeks to confirm a further £5.464m of funding up to March 2027.

The project was granted approval by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural affairs (DEFRA) in May 2021 and awarded £672,000 from the Innovative Resilience Fund in October 2021. It forms one of only 25 pilots nationwide to receive capital funding.

The Council is acting as the project lead and the additional funding means Southend-on-Sea is set to become a national exemplar for how it manages the risk of flood and coastal erosion.

The partnership intends to address the current risks of flooding and coastal erosion in Southend-on-Sea and Thurrock as well as parts of Rochford and Castle Point. The project spans three catchments and will deliver innovative flood and coastal resilience through a combination of nature-based solutions, sustainable drainage systems and erosion protection. 

Historically, Southend and Thurrock have experienced flood events resulting from intense rainfall coinciding with high tidal and fluvial levels, causing flooding from surface water, sewer, and fluvial sources. There are also concerns of flooding during a tide locking scenario.

Cllr Carole Mulroney, cabinet member for environment, culture, tourism, and planning, says: “The additional funding means the essential work of the Flood and Coastal Resilience Innovation Programme can continue. The Catchment to Coast project will see collaborative working between Southend-on-Sea and Thurrock Councils and other government organisations, wildlife charities, utility companies and academic institutions. 

“This funding will enable us to deliver an innovative programme that will primarily address the risks of surface water flooding and coastal erosion of historic landfill sites across the boroughs. To achieve this, the Catchment to Coast project will examine, implement and evaluate the use of natural flood management in the upper catchments and along the coastlines of Thurrock and Southend-on-Sea. 

“The project will include working with local universities to provide opportunities for PhD research projects, whilst supporting the monitoring and evaluation of the project, also developing and piloting a visual surface water beacon in order to warn those living in high-risk areas of potential surface water flooding.

“As part of the project the resilience actions are expected to provide many secondary benefits including improving water quality, improving biodiversity and increasing public awareness of the risk of flooding.

“The award of the funding is recognition of Southend-on-Sea Borough Council’s ability to lead, innovate and fulfil such worthwhile projects.”

View the cabinet report on our democracy pages.

Published: 21st February 2022

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