Flood defences mean 50,000 properties in the South East 'better protected'

Video report by ITV News Meridian's Kit Bradshaw

It is claimed more than 50,000 properties across the South East are now better protected from flooding than six years ago.

The Environment Agency says its defence projects in Kent, Sussex and south London have helped reduce the risk to homes and businesses.  

The new figures were released as the organisation announced the next stage in its Romney Marsh flood defence works, on the Kent-East Sussex border. 

Coastal defences were recently strengthened at Hythe Ranges. Credit: Environment Agency

homes at risk of flooding on Romney Marsh


has been invested to date as part of Folkestone to Cliff End Strategy

Timber groynes will be built on the beaches at Lydd Ranges, with large rocks added to the coastline to defend against ongoing storm damage and further coastal erosion. It’s after similar works were completed at nearby Hythe Ranges last December. 

It’s part of the Folkestone to Cliff End Strategy, which was approved by the government in 2010, and has so far spent £130 million on flood schemes on Romney Marsh. 

Without regularly upgraded defences some areas would be at risk of “devastating flooding”, says Mark Douch from the Environment Agency.

Mark Douch, an area flood risk manager at the Environment Agency, told ITV News Meridian: “Most of Romney Marsh is below high-tide level. It's these defences that keep the sea at bay. If we didn’t have them we would see tidal flooding across most of the marsh of a depth between 1 to 2 metres, which as you can imagine would be absolutely devastating.”

Other projects completed in our region in recent years include:

  • Broomhill Sands coastal defences between Camber Sands and Jury's Gap were completed in 2016 at a cost of £30m, protecting more than 1,300 homes.

  • Medway Property Flood Resilience scheme has provided 256 properties in the Low Weald, south of Maidstone, with individual measures to help minimise flood damage.

  • Queenborough Barrier, on the Isle of Sheppey, was fully refurbished in 2018 at a cost of £4m, offering better protection to some 300 homes and businesses.

Local sheep farm and holiday lets business owner, Kristina Boulden, welcomes the investment in sea defences close to her property.

Kristina Boulden, who runs Romney Marsh Wools, welcomed the ongoing investment in defences in Kent. 

She told ITV News Meridian: "It's really important to maintain that seawall defence because it is what’s protecting our area. If anything, I think we are up against the climate so the more we can do to protect, maintain and manage, the better it is for everyone."

I commend the hard work of the Environment Agency and its partners in supporting flood-hit communities. We know there is more to do, which is why a record £5.2 billion is being invested in 2,000 new flood and coastal erosion schemes over the next six years, to protect thousands more people, homes and businesses.

George Eustice MP, Environment Secretary

The government says its strategy for Romney Marsh plans to manage flood and erosion risks along the coastline over the next 100 years, taking the predicted impacts of climate change into account.

To date £130 million has been invested on flood defences along the Romney Marsh.