Grants of up to £2,000 will be available to households in Alfriston to help install flood protection measures.
The funding support is thanks to a grant of £100,000 secured by Wealden District Council from the Southern Regional Flood and Coastal Committee. It follows on from initial flood resilience awareness work carried out in these communities by the District Council in partnership with East Sussex Fire and Rescue, the Environment Agency, the National Flood Forum and East Sussex County Council. It involved identifying and advising those households most at risk from the effects of flooding.
Some 57 properties identified across Wealden took up the offer of a free Property Flood Resilience survey paid for by the District Council, and nearly all - 50 of these - will benefit from flood protection.
These measures - such as flood doors, barriers and air brick covers – will be paid for through the grant provided by the Regional Flood and Coast Committee. Wealden District Council initially provided £36,000 towards the cost of the protection measures which has been more than matched by the grant from the SRFCC.
“Flood resilience is all about being prepared for what may happen, and avoiding the cost and heartache that flood damage can cause,” said Councillor Claire Dowling, Wealden Cabinet member for Public Health and Community Safety.
“It is estimated that the preventative work these households can carry out could result in savings of over £1.5 million in repair and restoration costs if there was a flooding event.
“We hope these measures will never be tested, but the uncertainty caused by climate change means households need to be aware if there is a potential flood risk to their property, and the damage it could cause.”
Lorraine Brown, Chair of the Southern Regional Flood and Coastal Committee which agreed the £100,000 grant, said that the funding was only possible due to the priority Local Authorities are now giving to funding local flood prevention schemes, “Without this type of funding raised through a Local Flood Defence Levy many small community schemes such as this one just wouldn’t be able to proceed, leaving many people vulnerable.”
She commended East Sussex County Council on its support for this local form of funding and for the money it pays in local levy.
The flood doors and air brick covers being offered through the scheme are far more effective at protecting property from flood damage than traditional responses such as sandbags.
Assistant Director of Safer Communities at East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service Mark Matthews said, “Unfortunately when it comes to flooding, often by the time we are called the damage has already been done to property and possessions. It can take months to recover and can be very costly. The good news is that there are measures which people can take and we strongly encourage householders and businesses to find out more before it is too late.”
Two hundred properties in Alfriston, Forest Row, Hellingly and Uckfield were visited by representatives of the partners taking part and given information packs, invitations to drop-in community engagement events and the opportunity to take part in a free flood resilience survey by an independent firm of surveyors. Those properties where the survey found that property protection would significantly reduce the impact of flooding will be eligible for the grants of up to £2,000 each. The survey took account of the risk of both river and surface water flooding.