The 2011 draft Strategy
We produced public brochures on our long term Strategy for managing tidal flood risk in the Severn Estuary early in 2011. We took stock of feedback received on those documents and we have been working closely with the communities and stakeholders that had concerns. We have welcomed their local knowledge and input into shaping the revised Strategy. We have not undertaken further engagement in locations where there was general agreement with the original proposals for that location.
The current consultation
The documents presented for this consultation capture the discussions that have taken place with communities and stakeholders, and present the current flood risk management options and proposals. We also provide answers to common questions that have emerged since 2011 and during our recent engagement activities. This public consultation is not seeking to ask any new questions but provides a final opportunity for comment to be made at this point in the lifespan of the Strategy. The consultation closes on 31 July 2013.
Changes since 2011
Several factors have changed since 2011 and this is reflected in the revised Strategy consultation documents. We have taken into account updated climate change advice from government. This has meant that a reduced amount of sea level rise is being planned for.
One of the greatest causes for concern in 2011 was with the proposals for managed realignment of flood defences to allow for creation of inter-tidal habitat. We must satisfy Government’s statutory obligations under the Habitats Regulations (2010) to be legally able to continue to maintain or improve flood defences throughout the estuary. We have clarified that managed realignment and habitat creation projects are only taken forward with the agreement of land and property owners and with input from the community.
The Strategy is the starting point for ongoing collaboration between the Environment Agency, landowners, communities and organisations, to consider and plan for change for the next 100 years. We expect to collectively review the Strategy every ten years so that it can be updated with new information and to reflect any changing circumstances. Major changes, such as a decision to construct a Severn Barrage, could prompt an earlier review.
Ongoing Local Discussions
During our local discussions a number of concerns have been raised that are very important to communities though not necessarily relevant for the Estuary as a whole. We will continue to engage with communities regarding these.