Flood risk despite £4.7m on defences

THOUSANDS of new homes in Portishead are built on areas which could be susceptible to flooding. The Environment Agency confirmed

THOUSANDS of new homes in Portishead are built on areas which could be susceptible to flooding.The Environment Agency confirmed last week that the homes built at the marina and at The Ashlands are actually on floodplains.The area at East Portishead is known as reclaimed land, which means it was once underwater and part of the channel.Developers building at The Ashlands and the marina put in place a number of measures to prevent flooding before they started building including raising the earth level by 10 metres. The dock wall has also been strengthened and a 10 metre high earth bund installed in a bid to reduce the risk of flooding.A spokesman for Persimmon Special Projects Western said: "We constructed £1.5million sea defences in Portishead in 1998."We were required to do so before any occupations of new homes could take place. The sea defences are designed to withstand the predicted highest tide in 100 years and are two metres higher than that."But despite the measures put in place, agency officials say there is still a one in a 100 year risk of flooding and added that if freak weather conditions hit like those in Gloucestershire, then areas of Portishead could be affected.Environment Agency spokesman Paul Gainey said: "The two major developments at the marina and at The Ashlands are both on floodplains. The developers agreed several measures before building started to reduce the risk of flooding so there should be no real cause for concern."However there are no guarantees against freak weather as those which occurred in Gloucestershire and whether the local drainage system, which the local authority is responsible for, can cope."Portishead has already suffered flooding this year when heavy downpours of rain caused problems in the High Street.Following torrential downpours, the drains in the High Street were unable to cope, leaving the main shopping area under water and flooding many businesses, causing thousands of pounds in damage.Portishead councillor David Pasley raised his concerns about Portishead being affected by flooding at a meeting of the authority this week.Cllr Pasley said: "In light of the extensive flooding across the country, can the director of planning and development assure members that there is little or no building of new homes in areas that could be described as potential flood plains?"The Government's newly published White Paper takes on the subject of planning and says councils must put in place a robust planning policy that takes into account a possible increase in rainfall in the future due to climate change."I want to know whether we have this policy in place.

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