Plans to deliver a vital flood defence and regeneration scheme for Looe have taken a major step forward - thanks to a £2.3 million grant.
The Defra Flood Defence Grant in Aid grant will enable Cornwall Council and its key partners to complete work on preparing the outline business case– the next key stage in securing the Government, and other sources of funding, needed to deliver the scheme.
Earlier this year South East Cornwall MP Sheryll Murray raised the issue of flooding in Looe during Prime Minister’s Questions, with the Prime Minister promising to do “everything we can” to prevent more flooding in the town.
Cornwall Council, Looe Harbour Commission and members of DEFRA’s Flood and Coastal Resilience Partnership have been working with Mrs Murray and the Environment Secretary, Camborne MP, George Eustice, to secure the funding needed for the initial stage of the scheme.
Welcoming news of the grant, Martyn Alvey, Cornwall Council’s portfolio holder for Environment and Climate Change, said “Looe is the most frequently flooded place in the country so successfully delivering this long awaited and much needed scheme is vital for the long-term future of the town and the wider economy of South East Cornwall."
“We need to ensure that the final scheme meets the needs of Looe, both now, and in the future. This means that, as well as providing structural flood defences to protect the town from flooding in the short to medium term, we support the community to develop a plan which identifies measures which go well beyond 100 years. This will give the community time to adapt so it can live with the consequences of increased flood risk in the future."
“During the summer we submitted the initial stage of the scheme to the Environment Agency for consideration. The funding announced by the EA today will enable us to complete the second stage of the project to submit to the Government next winter. This is a hugely significant step both for the project and the town as, without Government support and funding, it will not be possible to deliver this scheme."
“We are very grateful to Sheryll Murray and the Secretary of State for their help and support in getting us to this stage, and to the Environment Agency for securing this funding.“
Ben Johnstone, Flood and Coastal Risk Manager at the Environment Agency, said "We are pleased to be able to make this contribution which would not have been possible without the funding provided by Cornwall Council. This means the team can continue the process to develop this project to both reduce the risk of flooding to Looe and adapt to the changing climate."
David Bond, Chairman of Looe Harbour Commissioners, added “ Looe Harbour Commissioners are delighted to hear that the funding from the Environment Agency for the next stage of planning for the Looe Defence Scheme, has been secured.”
MP for South East Cornwall Sheryll Murray said: “I know how long Looe has been waiting for this essential work and this is a major step forward. It is an issue I have raised on many occasions with DEFRA, the Chancellor and with the Prime Minister both publicly and in private meetings."
“I am delighted that the Environment Agency have now awarded the final £2.3 million to move the Looe Flood prevention project to the next stage. It is very unusual for the Environment Agency to allocate funding in advance of a business case being completed, so I am grateful that this has now happened."
“I would like to thank the Looe Harbour Commissioners and the Cornwall Council project team, along with all others involved, who have worked so hard to provide me with the information and support to get the Government to move on this funding. This just shows that when a community works together, across the tiers of governance, we can move forward in a positive way.”
While partners have been building the strong economic case for the scheme during the past few months, work has also been continuing on developing the designs.
As well as identifying the engineering solutions needed to enable the town to manage the risk of flooding over the next 50 - 100 years, the team has recognised the need for a Flood Adaption Plan to help the community to adapt in the longer term. This will include examination of existing planning policies to prevent inappropriate development in areas of flood risk, evolving transport policies, and investigating measures to generate income to support transformation projects.
”With climate scientists forecasting that sea levels will continue to rise well past the next 100 years, we need to work together to protect and regenerate this key part of Cornwall" said Martyn Alvey. “Doing nothing is not an option -we need to act quickly, act boldly and act locally."
“We look forward to continuing to work with our partners, the Government and the local community to complete the designs and secure the final funding for this much needed scheme.“
Building on the engagement events held last November, the project team will be holding a series of design workshops during the last week of April to provide an update on the scheme and further explore what stakeholders, the community and businesses see as the key priorities for the breakwater layout of the flood defence design. These sessions are being held at the Quayside Centre in Looe on:
- Friday 29th April- 10:00-12:00 and 15.00-19.00
- Saturday 30th April- 10.00-15.00
In addition, there is an online Zoom event on Tuesday 3rd May starting at 18:00.
As the scheme develops, further engagement events for local residents and businesses are planned, prior to the applications for planning permission, a harbour revision order and a marine licence are formally submitted.
Further information about the events and the scheme is available on the Let’s Talk Cornwall site
Story posted 5 April 2022