Flood protection spending measures announced in West Sussex

The flooding in Chichester. Photo by David Jacobs

The flooding in Chichester. Photo by David Jacobs

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MILLIONS of pounds will be used to improve flooding prevention measures in West Sussex.

The county council has announced it is channelling £8.25m from its reserves to pay for highway drainage and environmental improvements in areas of the county that have been the worst affected in recent months.

However, as of yet there has been no confirmation as to the exact areas where the money will be targeted.

West Sussex County Council leader Louise Goldsmith said: “We have always stressed we need a healthy level of reserves to meet the long-term costs of a wide variety of schemes we are already committed to deliver, and ones we know we will be delivering in future.

“We have always stressed we also need reserves to fulfil our obligations to residents during emergency situations.

“I am sure everyone will agree that the impact of the weather we experienced last year is just such an emergency.”

She added the report into the June floods was just the beginning, and would be translated into action.

“Now we have the finance in place we can look in detail at schemes that will reduce the impact of future flooding on home owners, our business community and road users,” she said.

“In the first instance we will be focusing on areas that have suffered repeat flooding to ensure that this money is well invested, and has significant benefits.”

The council will also be working closely with other agencies responsible for aspects of drainage including the Environment Agency and Southern Water.

Work has already started on a key recommendation of the June flood report – a detailed register showing exactly who is responsible for all aspects of drainage in West Sussex.

The county council is also urging private landowners with responsibility for ditches to take action to ensure they are well maintained and regularly cleared.

A council spokesman added the fund is designed to fix highway drainage hotspots, contribute to schemes with partners where the drainage system needs improvements, support community solutions including working with owners of private ditches and restore the highways network that has been damaged by the winter weather.