More than £20m is given for long-term plans

DEFENCES Cllr Hugh Mason
DEFENCES Cllr Hugh Mason
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MILLIONS of pounds is going to be given to Portsmouth City Council to alleviate future flood problems.

The council will be receiving around £20m from the Environment Agency to rebuild flood walls and reduce the risk of flooding at Southsea.

Smaller amounts will also be given by Southern Water and the council.

The work on the flood walls will start at the end of this year and the beginning of 2015.

Changes to the seafront will be put into action in the spring of next year and is expected to take up to five years.

The council received funding from the Environment Agency as it is a leading local flood authority.

An annual levy is paid to the agency by the council.

Councillor Hugh Mason, deputy leader of the council, is the Portsmouth representative of the regional flood and coastal committee.

He said: ‘The city has three different flood problems.

‘The first is the sea water coming over the walls.

‘With global warming, the sea levels could raise and that would cause problems in Southsea and along Langstone Harbour.

‘The second type is water that doesn’t drain away through the ground when there is lots of rain.

‘And finally, the third type is the water table.

‘This is a future flooding issue but if the water 
tables raise, then 
Portsmouth will have serious problems.’

The first course of action is to improve the flood walls from the Mountbatten Centre to Milton Common.

Councillor Mason added that the most severe section was the defences near Anchorage Park.

‘Along Anchorage Park, the defences definitely need some work,’ he said.

‘If they were to falter, then nearby residents could face up to six feet of water.’

Improving the flood defences will cost the council around £10m.

The second lot of £10m from the Environment Agency will be spent on the Millennium Walkway which runs from Clarence Esplanade, in Southsea, to The Royal Marines Museum, in Eastney.

Plans include raising the promenade and extending it.

Councillor Mason said: ‘We cannot stick a great, dirty wall between the road and the beach so raising the promenade will be the action we are most likely to take.

‘It will have to be done gradually because the sea front is a great tourist attraction.

‘We hope to start it next year, around February, and have it completed within five years.

‘We are very much building for the future with our flood plans.’