Release date: 18 October 2018
Community action has been the driving force behind a major flood diversion project for Almodington village.
Birdham and Earnley Flood Prevention Group recently completed the scheme, with excess storm water diverted across Batchmere Road, linking up with farm ditches that drain to the sea at Medmerry Nature Reserve.
The project was funded through £52,500 from the county council’s Operation Watershed scheme, £15,000 from the Environment Agency and was actively supported by Earnley Parish Council. Residents and local landowners also provided detailed knowledge of the local topography and water flows.
Flood prevention group chairman Robert Carey said: “A number of residents’ homes were flooded during the major floods in June 2012, but, by taking flood water away from the village, this project will significantly reduce the risk of this happening again.
“The local community are grateful for the funding and expert support from Operation Watershed and the Environment Agency. It’s been a lot of work for all concerned but in the end well worth it.”
Roger Elkins, county council Cabinet Member for Highways and Infrastructure, said: “This is a real community success story, with multi-agency support. I’m delighted we have been able to help through Operation Watershed funding and expert advice.”
Debbie Kennard, county council Cabinet Member for Safer and Stronger Communities, said: “This has been about the local community making this happen through sheer persistence and determination and everyone involved should feel rightly proud of their success.”
An unusual feature of the flood diversion project is that Earnley Parish Council has signed a Wayleave Agreement with a large local landowner: this is a legal agreement which, in return for permitting the diversion of flood water, has committed the parish council to maintain the new drainage works in perpetuity.
The county council’s Operation Watershed Active Communities Fund encourages communities to act against flooding. Since starting in 2013, it has successfully supported local communities by funding more than 360 projects to a total value in excess of £3million, and worked with nearly 150 groups.
Pictured: Community volunteers at one element of the completed works in Almodington. From left, Keith Martin, Veronica Wilks, Andries Devaal, John Stant. Front: Campbell Thorpe, Robert Carey. Picture by J.M. Bowering