PORTSMOUTH is at the forefront of the UK’s flood defence strategy for generations to come.
So says the nation’s floods minister, Dr Therese Coffey, who visited the city to inspect the £44m efforts to shore up the island’s coastal protection.
The scheme will provide more than five miles of new flood defences to north Portsea and help to protect 2,066 homes and businesses.
Once completed, the defences will give the island a ‘one-in-500-year protection’, meaning the city would be safe from all but the most catastrophic floods.
Dr Coffey’s trip comes ahead of the next major milestone in the defence works, set to begin in April.
She said: ‘This long-term scheme is well and truly under way which is good news for the people of Portsmouth.
‘The new defences will better protect over 2,000 homes and businesses in the city – giving people living and working here peace of mind.’
She added the scheme was part of a £142m investment which is being pumped into Hampshire’s flood defence.
Portsmouth has a 17-mile coastline and the second-highest population density in the UK after London.
The six-phase scheme has already seen the Anchorage Park and Milton Common sections completed with work on Tipner Lake due to start in April.
In addition to this work, plans are also under way for new strengthened flood defences in Southsea – part of which collapsed in heavy storms last year.
This effort will cost £117m and begin next year. It will provide better protection to 4,854 homes and businesses, and will stretch from the Hot Walls to the Royal Marines Museum.
Portsmouth City Council boss Councillor Donna Jones said the defences were critical to the city’s future, adding that the two-year plan is now about two-thirds of the way through.
Cllr Jones added: ‘Being an island city – the only one in the UK and one of only two in Europe – means we are very susceptible to flooding.
‘Some parts of the city are significantly below the sea level. Therefore protecting homes and jobs is absolutely a number one priority for us.’
The project is being conducted in partnership with the council and the Environment Agency. The work in the north of the city is due to finish in 2022.