Flood defences to be improved to protect thousands of Portsmouth homes

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MORE than 2,200 homes in Portsmouth will get better protection against flooding as the Environment Agency pumps £1.3m into drainage improvements.

The city has been considered one of the highest priorities in the country for flood defence works.

Three major schemes have been awarded funding – out of a total of 60 across the country.

It comes as the Environment Agency has announced which schemes it will begin construction on for the next financial year following bids by local authorities.

Emsworth, which suffered major flooding two years ago, has also made the shortlist, with a total of £400,000 to be spent on improving the town’s drainage system.

Penny Mordaunt, MP for Portsmouth North, said: ‘It’s really good news we have some money coming through to shore up these defences.

‘It’s something I am anticipating I will constantly be making the case for.

‘This is a really good bit of news, a substantial investment that’s going to protect people’s homes and businesses.’

The work will involve building underground storage tanks in the area around Copnor Road, as well as near to South Parade Pier where low-lying homes and businesses have suffered flooding in the past.

It will mean that the sewers are not overwhelmed when there is heavy rainfall, and less surface water will accumulate.

Andrew Gilham, flood and coastal risk manager for the Environment Agency, said the area’s unique geography made it vulnerable to flooding.

He said: ‘The first thing is it’s an island.

‘Portsmouth is currently well-defended by sea defences, but with rising sea levels we have to make sure these defences are as strong and high as they can be.

‘Secondly Portsmouth acts like a bit of a bowl. Whenever it rains the water will flow to the lowest point and the lowest point is often found in the Southsea area.’

As well as funding for construction works this year, the Environment Agency is giving the city council £300,000 to come up with designs for improving coastal defences near Southsea Common and the north east of Portsea Island, around Eastern Road.

These schemes will cost several million pounds and could happen in three years’ time.