National flooding organisations, councils and residents united at the Selsey Sea Defence Conference to discuss strategies to protect the coast from the rising sea levels on Tuesday, April 26.
The conference took place at Selsey Town Hall, featuring talks from West Sussex County Council, Selsey Town Council and the East Solent Coastal partnership – all with the underlying theme of ‘be prepared’.
Parish, town, district and county councils stretching from Havant to Shoreham-By-Sea attended to help find imaginative ways of preventing and funding the flood defences.
Chairman of Selsey Town Council, Cllr Mike Beal, said: “The harsh reality is that there will not be millions of pounds flowing from parliament to fund defences, so local solutions will need to be tailored to local needs.
“We need to focus on simpler solutions that are affordable and workable.
“What if we invest in a system that is moveable? How about a set of barriers that could be loaded onto a truck and transported from site to site? A system of this nature worked on river banks over the winter so perhaps this might work locally.”
Mike Beal also proposed using small scale defences tailored to the individual home owner, as well as a local loan initiative for residents to buy these defences.
Carolyn Cobbold from the Manhood Peninsula Partnership said: “We need to work with nature not fight against it and find space for the water – it has to go somewhere.
“What we need to come with is soft sea defences that work with the water.”
Concerned residents who attended the event were impressed with the defence options presented.
One Selsey homeowner said: “I have found the conference immensely interesting and very well organised. It is brilliant to see this number of people and so many different organisations working together towards the same target.”
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