LETTER: Flooding ‘facts’ should be left to the professionals

RATHER than rely upon ‘facts’ selected by Mr Coster (letters, April 16) about flood risk, I prefer to rely upon those organisations I suspect are more qualified than us to assess risk.

Does he suggest that in setting land aside for housing development in their local plan, that Arun would not have consulted the Environment Agency (EA) who assess and counter flood risk, before allocating areas deemed suitable for that purpose?

Does he think that risks from the Lidsey catchment Area Surface Water Management Plan has entirely escaped the notice of the EA and that only he has identified that floods will be ‘hurled in our direction?’

From my conversations with the EA I am assured that satisfactory alleviation measures can now be imposed upon developers which can deal with anticipated exceptional floods.

Such measures include creating catchment ponds that can store millions of gallons of rainwater, and slowly release it in drier spells, improving the flow of existing rifes and drainage ditches, and the controlled flooding of fields to store water away from housing.

By replacing woodland and hedgerows in flood risk areas one can intercept and slow water from flowing downstream.

In consultation with the EA councils can force developers to filter rain by creating permeable hard surfaces, introduce grey water recycling systems, and capture roof run off.

All these measures, and others, are recognised by both the EA, the Sussex Wildlife Trust and others as workable and are not ‘glib’.

In citing only 53 homeless families (surely 53 is too many?!) he misses the point. The demand for new affordable housing amongst our population cannot be met.

It comes from locals priced out of the market, and forced to waste earnings on high rents, and from those unable to pay such rents and who are forced to share accommodation with relatives and friends, or live in sub -standard accommodation.

They number far more than 53, and, if nothing is done could, out of frustration damage a cohesive society.

Why can’t he wait until his views and mine can be properly tested by an independent qualified planning inspector at the forthcoming public inquiry, rather than use emotive language and highly selective facts that can only cause anxiety just before an election?

Or, why not stand for election himself as so adroitly suggested by Mr Walker? It is right to question his motives!

Stan Jonas

Devonshire Rd

Bognor Regis