Environment Agency is responsible for safeguarding places where
the land is low-lying, for example, places where a sea wall has
had to be built to protect the land.
councils are responsible for the other parts of the coast, which
have higher land (usually cliffs), where the problem is not flooding,
but erosion (e.g. Dunwich in Suffolk).
estuaries, the same thing applies, but it is the landowners, not
necessarily local councils, who have to look after places where
land is eroding.
the one hand, organisation and culture and the number of organisations
involved in land drainage/flood defence have changed little over
the past seventy years - for instance the raising of money locally,
the support through central government grant and the fact that there
is still a plethora of organisations with responsibilities for flood
defence in England and Wales.
the other hand many aspects of how the business is run have changed
- the move from land drainage for food production to flood defence
for people and property
- seeking of sustainable solutions against a background of climate
- national direction of policy and practice
- a move away from the reactive construction of defences after
flooding to a more proactive strategic planning of defences
- prevention through protection of flood plains and land use
- research and development that is based firmly on user involvement
and practical application.
WITH NATURE & NOT AGAINST IT
may argue that we should leave nature to take care of itself and
not build flood defences. Others wonder why we can’t just build
sea walls around the whole of our coastline.
to the Environment Agency, we need to work on both of these fronts.
walls, flood banks, beach recharge, groynes and tidal barriers are
traditional, well tried solutions, however as sea levels rise we
need to work with nature rather than against it. This can be done
the effect of existing man-made defences on natural processes,
helping us to plan sustainable solutions which are both cost-effective
and reduce impact on the environment.
valuable habitats like saltmarsh and mudflats, which provide natural
flood defences, by breaking down wave energy.