NEW flood defences lining Portsea Island’s northern shore have been praised by the UK’s environment chief.
Liz Truss, secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs, visited the first phase of a £44m scheme to rebuild the area’s coastal protection.
It’s good to see a scheme that both looks attractive and is useful for local residentsLiz Truss
Ms Truss said the completed £5.5m works, between Anchorage Park and Hilsea, were impressive.
She said: ‘It’s good to see a scheme that both looks attractive and is useful for local residents in terms of recreation.
‘It’s an area for people to walk their dogs and go cycling at the same time as providing protection for houses and business.’
Ms Truss said residents facing expensive house insurance due to flood risk would be able to use an upcoming programme called Flood Re to get affordable premiums. She said: ‘We have agreed a statement of principles across the country so that everyone can access affordable home insurance regardless of the situation they’re in.’
The next phase of flood defence works covering Milton Common is due to start in April.
Portsmouth City Council cabinet member for environment and community Councillor Rob New said the new defences would give Portsea Island ‘one in 500-year protection’, meaning the city would be safe from all but the most catastrophic floods.
Cllr New said he was pleased Anchorage Park had benefitted from the first phase of the scheme.
He said: ‘For a long time it has been recognised that the sea defences are at the end of their life. The residents of Anchorage Park have had all sorts of issues with house insurance and flooding, and I think this is the right place for this scheme to start.’
Cllr New said the works were essential.
He said: ‘As anyone from Portsmouth will know, we get battered quite a lot.
‘With things like climate change and storms becoming more severe this is the right time to do act.’
Coastal defence partnership manager Lyall Cairns said: ‘At the moment there are 2,000 homes at risk and that will rise to about 4,000 over the next 100 years with predicted sea level rise and increased storms.’