Hopes for flood money to improve city’s sea defences

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PORTSMOUTH City Council hopes to secure £1m for urgent flood defence work.

Council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson and deputy leader, Cllr Hugh Mason, have met representatives from the Environment Agency and Mike Bateman, chairman of the Regional Flood Protection Committee, to ask for the cash.

It will be spent on designs to improve and replace defences in Southsea and the north of Portsea Island.

Many defences are in danger of collapsing, and others need improving to prepare for predicted sea level increases, which could see large parts of Portsmouth hit by regular sea flooding.

Cllr Vernon-Jackson said: ‘It was a meeting to explain why we need the money, which would be spent on designing the defences.

‘It was very encouraging and we hope we will get the money.’

The council will work on a variety of defences, including sea walls and also initiatives such as beach management, as used at Hayling Island.

Bret Davies, coastal project engineer for Havant, Portsmouth and Gosport coastal defence partnership, said: ‘In parts of the city defences are tired and need to be repaired. But we also hope to use the beach as defence and in some places we can use rocks to reduce wave size. We need to, because large parts of the city are vulnerable to flooding now, and will be more so if sea levels rise.’

The council hopes to receive a decision within six weeks.