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Liberal Democrats on Kent County Council

Question by Martin Vye to David Brazier, Cabinet Member for Environment & Transport

September 26, 2014 8:29 AM

Given that winter is only two months away, will the Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport list the measures already put in place by agencies, including KCC, to prevent flooding in each of the locations where it occurred last winter; and will he also list the measures judged to be essential to prevent flooding in those locations, but for which the funding has not been identified, and inform the Council of the subsequent assessment of risk of flooding, in terms of red/amber/green ratings, in each of those locations.


The winter floods included a number of separate flood events. The first was the tidal storm surge on 5/6 December 2013, this was followed by the storms on 23-27 December 2013 and 4-6 January 20-14 that brought power cuts, fluvial, sewer and surface water flooding. The continued wet weather in the winter led to high groundwater levels and flooding on groundwater fed watercourses and groundwater flooding. Approximately 929 properties were recorded as flooding in the winter of 2013/14.

A table [see below] summarising works undertaken to date and any long-term measures that have been identified in the areas significantly affected by flooding this winter has been included in the hard copy County Council Questions pack and will be made available as part of the online agenda for this meeting on the KCC website. In many of these areas multi-agency groups have been established to coordinate the delivery of protection measures and training has been provided for local flood wardens to coordinate the flood response locally.

A red/amber/green rating for flood risk is difficult as for many areas there are several aspects that affect the risk assessment that are not known in detail yet, including the flood frequency and properties at risk. The estimated number of properties at risk in each area from the long-term measures has been indicated where it is available. Further work is required in order to determine what schemes are viable in each area and what the benefits will be. KCC is part of a group of authorities that are delivering these schemes. KCC leads on highway works, coastal and fluvial works are led by the Environment Agency and Southern Water or Thames Water lead on sewer works.

Area flooded

Measures employed

Long-term measures required

Properties protected


A multi-agency group has been established to oversee the identification of appropriate flood protection measures.

The tidal wall needs to be raised along with some improvements to the drainage outfalls. This is subject to a bid for government funds.


Westerham and Brasted

KCC are working in partnership with the EA and Thames Water to investigate the drainage system and identify areas for improvement.

Capital money has been allocated to undertake improvements this financial year. The scale of these improvements will be confirmed on completion of the ongoing survey work.



Tankers were provided during the groundwater flooding of Bob Dunn Way.

A permanent pump will be installed to manage water levels later this year.



Damage to the flood wall has been repaired.

Improved flood protection is required by increased conveyance through the stone bridge. There are no plans to undertake this work as consultation is required with the residents on the nature of the work.


Medway Valley, including Tonbridge, Hildenborough, Yalding, Collier Street and Maidstone

A multi-agency group has been established to review the works required. Works have been undertaken to repair damaged walls, improve conveyance, clear culverts and trees and undertake surveys.

Improved capacity at the Leigh Barrier a flood storage area on the Beult River. These schemes need to be designed. The outline design work is in hand however it is subject to partnership funding. Once the scheme is designed partnership funding will be required to deliver it, currently estimated to be approximately £17m.

KCC has already supported the next phase of the development of this scheme with a contribution of £50k and is currently considering how it will continue to support it.


East Peckham

This is also covered by the Medway Valley multi-agency group. Blockages have been removed, a wall repaired and trees cleared.

East Peckham will benefit from the Leigh Barrier improvements proposed, there is also a scheme to protect it locally from the Medway River and other rivers that requires funding. A bid for government funding for this scheme is currently being considered.


Nailbourne and Little Stour Valley, including Barham, Bridge, Patrixbourne, Bekesbourne, Little Bourne, Ickham and Wickhambreaux

A multi-agency group has been established to review the works required. Works have begun to repair walls, clear culverts and improve conveyance. Southern Water is continuing to undertake works to improve the sewer network.

Further work is required to improve conveyance and flood protection along the Nailbourne, which requires additional investigation to determine the best means to achieve it. There are also schemes for the Little Stour that require funding. These are subject to a bid for government funds, but they are not cost beneficial so may not be successful.


It should be noted that there is a lot of uncertainty about the long-term solutions outlined here for a number of reasons:

  • For many areas a specific scheme to protect homes has not been identified, therefore there is uncertainty about the costs and benefits of this scheme and the provision of funds to deliver it
  • Where a scheme has been identified the government's commitment to funding these will not be announced until after the Autumn Statement and certainty about that portion of the funds cannot be given at this time
  • Most schemes will require partnership funding in order to be delivered, even with a government contribution secured. There will be uncertainty over this contribution until a legal agreement is in place