Published: 12:30, 01 December 2017
A plan has been launched to reduce the risk of flooding to 9,000 properties along the River Medway following devastating floods in 2013.
The plan by the Medway Flood Partnership outlines how the members will work with communities in the Medway catchment, which covers all land draining into the Rivers Medway, Beult, Teise, Bourne and Eden, as well their tributaries.
In December 2013, more than 900 homes were flooded across the area.
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The partnership has pledged to invest at least £19 million in projects to manage and reduce flood risk over the next five years.
Measures include increasing the capacity of the Leigh Flood Storage Area and providing measures to homes in Yalding, Collier Street and Laddingford.
The Environment Agency will be spending about £1 million each year on maintenance of river channels and flood defences - such as flood walls, sluices and weirs - to ensure they remain in good condition.
The Medway Flood Partnership was established in January 2017 to bring organisations together to coordinate these activities.
Julie Foley, Environment Agency Area Manager, said: “The launch of this plan demonstrates our commitment to finding practicable solutions to manage flood risk. Over the next five years, fully funded schemes within the Medway Flood Action Plan will reduce the risk of flooding to over 1,700 homes along the River Medway.
"With our partners, we will also be exploring further opportunities for schemes that help to reduce flood risk and improve the local environment.”
Matthew Balfour, Cabinet Member at Kent County Council, said: “I’m delighted that the Medway Flood Action Plan has been launched and that we can finally get to work on flood defences in the area.
"During the winter 2013/14 floods, over 900 homes and businesses in Tonbridge, Yalding, East Peckham and other smaller communities were flooded from the River Medway.
"We are determined to reduce the risk of flooding to these communities. This is tremendous news for those communities affected and goes to show that the hard work we have put in with our partners has helped us secure the funding and draw up a robust plan to help manage and reduce flood risk.”
More by this authorGuy Bell