Flooding debate to be held in Essex

WITH fear of flooding becoming a reality for many Essex residents, a public debate is to be staged to this month to consider the issues.The Essex Property Forum is behind the event, which will feature speakers from the Environment Agency, the insurance industry and the National Flood Forum.

WITH fear of flooding becoming a reality for many Essex residents, a public debate is to be staged to this month to consider the issues.

The Essex Property Forum is behind the event, which will feature speakers from the Environment Agency, the insurance industry and the National Flood Forum.

There will also be the chance for residents or businesses to ask questions and give comments on the recent flooding, how the clear-up operation was handled and their concerns for the future.

Essex has been devastated by floods over the past three years. In October 2001, Kelvedon, Coggeshall and other parts of the Braintree district suffered badly hit. Halstead town centre was also under water. A year later, flooding returned on a smaller scale when more than a third of October's average monthly rain fell in just 48 hours.


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In January this year, rivers swelled to the top of their banks and sections of the A12 were closed between Marks Tey and Kelvedon after 12 hours of rain. Flooding was also reported in Wormingford, Dedham, Bradwell, Witham, Earls Colne and Wakes Colne.

Since the publication in 2002 of planning policy guidance on development and flood risk as well as flood risk maps, greater attention has been focussed on potential issues associated with flood risk in Essex.

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A spokesman for the Essex Property Forum – a group of Essex organisations with interests in the property market - said: "What is the effect on the value of a house, office or factory if it appears on the flood risk map? Are people aware that they have been included in the map and how do they check their status – questions which will be answered next week.

"In the case of coastal flooding, it is now necessary to consider a one in 200 year return flood and for main rivers a 50 to 100-year return flood. Consequently, the extent of the county designated as being potentially at risk from flooding has effectively doubled."

He added there were no guarantees that the Environment Agency could continue to maintain existing coastal defences to cater for this increase, so there were now wider implications for developers.

"They are required to provide a mandatory flood risk assessment as part of the planning process," he said, "but this also has potential implications for domestic householders within designated flood risk areas in relation to the building of extensions, property sale, insurance and obtaining finance for house purchase."

The two-hour debate will start at 4pm on Thursday, May 15 at the Essex Records Office in Chelmsford. To book a free place email Donata.Rio@MerricksLLP.com

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