NEWS COMMENT: Sacrificing our villages could become a reality

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It’s inconceivable to think that villages in our area could become ‘sacrificial lambs’ in a bid to save Portsmouth from flooding.

But that is what is being mooted as the Environment Agency looks to predict what affect climate change will have on the country in the decades to come as they plan for flood risk and coastal erosion.

The suggestion that some communities may no longer be able to be protected and may need to be ‘moved out of harm’s way’ is hard to imagine.

Experts have suggested this could work to save Portsmouth and Gosport – using less densely-populated areas as ‘sacrificial lambs’, diverting water to them in a bid to reduce flooding in the city.

Portsmouth knows all too well about the threat of flooding. Rising sea levels have already forced flood planners to draw up controversial plans for a large wall at the seafront.

Environment Agency chairwoman Emma Howard Boyd said: ‘In some places, the scale of the threat may be so significant that recovery will not always be the best long-term solution. In these instances, we will help communities to move out of harm’s way.’

And Robin Shepherd, a partner at planning and design consultancy Barton Willmore, warned rising water levels of just 30cm to 50cm could see ‘big changes’

He said: ‘Portsmouth and Gosport, yes absolutely, we’ll need to put, over time, bigger sea defences in place, divert water and we might forego certain areas to save the more populated areas, the sacrificial lamb.’

Fareham Borough Council leader Sean Woodward fears somewhere like Titchfield could be targeted by such plans to give up areas.

And he is adamant the medieval village would never be sacrificed ‘on anybody’s altar’.

No-one would want to be in the shoes of those who have to make the decision on which areas to protect and which areas to let go to the sea.