5th March 2007
The Essex Flood Forum was formed with cross party support to prove to the authorities responsible; Flood water will find its own level and take the weakest route to do so. We believe the facts show there is a serious risk of flooding in parts of South Essex, including areas that are earmarked for development.
We have a number of questions for the authorities that we want answered.
*Is the correct information being given about the flood risk in certain areas? We have spoken to the Environment Agency, that has conceded the flood maps on its web site are incorrect and has said it will update them.
*Are the people at risk from flooding and the developers building in certain areas aware of the risks? We believe in some places planning permission has been granted even though the risk of flooding does not meet the minimum insurance requirement. Some areas being developed have a 20% risk of a flood every five years, but the Association of British Insurers have a requirement that flood defences should reduce the risk to one flood every 75 years.
*Why will the authorities not talk about this matter? The Forum has tried through a mediation group to talk to the authorities about this problem, but everyone involved with flooding has refused to talk to us.
Mary Spence, the Chief Executive of Thames Gateway South Essex Partnership (TGSEP), wrote in an article in the Echo newspaper on 23 January 2007 that "the SFRA (Strategic Flood Risk Assessment) is a piece of positive reassurance, a change from doom and gloom predictions about flooding".
However, the facts we have show that despite the findings of the TGSEP's Strategic Flood Risk Assessment large areas of South Essex are not safe from flooding.
If the flood of 1953 is repeated 1400 residential and commercial properties will be at risk and the financial losses are estimated to be £86m.
*What plans do the authorities have to improve flood defences in South Essex? We think that waste should be used with Landfill tax to build and invest in flood defences and foundations for our children to build upon to protect themselves and their environment.
We want the authorities to come up with answers now before it is too late and before any more building is allowed in flood risk areas of South Essex as part of the Thames Gateway.
You can find out more about the Essex Flood Forum by visiting our web site.