Agenda and minutes

Kent Flood Risk Management Committee - Monday, 11th March, 2019 2.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Sessions House, County Hall, Maidstone. View directions

Contact: Andrew Tait  03000 416749


No. Item


Minutes of the meeting on 12 November 2018 pdf icon PDF 155 KB

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RESOLVED that subject to the deletion of “container” in Minute 17 (18), the Minutes of the meeting held on 12 November 2018 are correctly recorded and that they be signed by the Chairman.  


Climate Change Impacts Forecast (UKCP 18) - Presentation by Mark Rogers, Met Office Advisor Civil Contingencies pdf icon PDF 2 MB

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(1)         Mr Mark Rogers from the Met Office gave a presentation. The accompanying slides are contained within the electronic agenda papers on the KCC website.


(2)       Mr Rogers said that the UK Climate projections (UKPC) had been launched at the end of 2018 using the most recent scientific evidence to provide a comprehensive analysis of how the climate in the UK could change by the end of the 21st Century.  This document updated its predecessor which had been published in 2009.  The work had been led by DEFRA with the Environment Agency and the Met Office as delivery partners.  The purpose of this work was to help inform decision-making so that adaptations could be made, and resilience built over the next 50 to 100 years.   


(3)       Mr Rogers then said that projections were based on the latest developments in climate science, including state-of-the-art global climate models, innovative regional climate models and up to date observational data.  They were based on four different “Representative Concentration Pathway” (RCP) levels of greenhouse gas concentrations. These ranged from RCP 2.6 (which was compatible with the aim of limiting global warming since pre-industrial levels to below 2?C) to RCP 8.5, which represented the “reasonable worst-case scenario.” 


(4)       Mr Rogers said that overall in the UK, the headline findings were that there would be hotter, drier summers leading to more thunderstorms and torrential downpours.  There would be a greater frequency of milder, wetter winters leading to more river flooding.   There would also be further rises in sea level around the entire UK coastline, particularly in the South.  It was projected that by 2100 there would be a rise of between 29 cm and 115 cm depending on whether there was a low or high emission scenario.


(5)       Mr Rogers picked the two periods 2020-39 and 2060-79 for deeper analysis in South East England.   The average winter temperatures were most likely to rise by up to 1oC in the 2020-39 period.  Depending on RCP levels, there would be an increase of between 1 and 3O between 2060 and 79. Winter precipitation would increase by up to 10% between 2020 and 2039. 


(6)       Summer temperatures were expected to rise by 1 to 2o between 2020 and 2039 and between 1 to 2o or 3 to 4o between 2060 and 2079 depending on RCP emission scenarios.  Precipitation levels would fall by up to 10% between 2020 and 39 and between 10 and 40% from 2016 70 79, again depending on RCP emission scenarios.


(7)       Mr Rogers replied to a question from Mrs Doyle by saying that the projections did not take natural phenomena such as volcanoes into account because it could not be predicted if and when they were likely to occur.  


(8)       In response to a question from Mr Lewin, Mr Rogers said that the modelling for UKPC18 was far better than for UKPC9.  In his view, any mis-assessment of the projections within the study were more likely to be  ...  view the full minutes text for item 2.


Environment Agency - Flood Risk Vision for the future of Kent - Presentation by Frank Heeley, Team Leader, Partnership and Strategic Overview - SE London and North Kent pdf icon PDF 1 MB

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(1)         Mr Frank Heeley, Environment Agency Partnership and Strategic Overview Team Leader - SE London and North Kent gave a presentation. The accompanying slides are contained within the electronic agenda papers on the KCC website.


(2)       Mr Heeley began his presentation by saying that the Environment Agency aimed to work collectively to respond to the challenges faced over the next decades through its ability to manage catchment strategies, taking account of multiple factors and benefits.  It also had to consider in detail how these activities could be resourced through partnership funding of projects and schemes.   


(3)       Mr Heeley then said that the 25-year Environment Plan was an ambitious document put together by DEFRA covering waste, clean water, and the mitigation of climate change effects.  One of its targets was the protection of 300,000 homes from flooding by the end of the current funding cycle in March 2021.  This target was just over half way to being fulfilled, and a large number of the projects were set to conclude in the last three months of the cycle.  This work was supported by the EA’s corporate strategy “Creating a better place.” 


(4)       The challenges faced included EU exit.   The EA was currently manning its Incident Room as part of DEFRA’s response. It was ensuring the mitigation of any environmental impacts (such as waste) arising from the use of Manston Airport as an Operation Stack queuing point.   This work could potentially take place at the expense of the Environment Plan’s priorities.  Other challenges were the securement of partnership funding and the need to ensure that the projects were managed to time and cost. 


(5)       Mr Heeley moved on to give an overview of flood risk in Kent. He said that there were some 60,000 residential and commercial properties at risk of flooding from the rivers and the sea.  He clarified that those areas in Kent designated Flood Zone 2 had a flood risk likelihood of 0.1% and that the likelihood for Flood Zone 3 was 1%.  These figures would be subject to re-evaluation when the recent amended climate change projections were fully taken into account.   An additional factor was that development continued to be permitted in Flood Zone 2 areas.  


(6)       Mr Heeley went on to provide the Committee with statistical information. He said that the national allocation to the 2019/21 capital programme was £845.7m of which £113.8m was allocated to Kent and South London.  He pointed out that this region traditionally received a greater proportion of the national allocation than other regions and that it also had a good track record of delivering its projects.  The EA was forecasting that flood risk to a further 21k properties would be reduced over the next two years (7.5k in 2018/19).  


(7)       Mr Heeley showed the Committee a list of the capital schemes in Kent for the period 2019/21.  He drew attention to the two major schemes which were the Hythe Ranges Scheme to protect against a 1 in 200 year scenario and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.


Middle Medway Flood Resilience Project Update - Presentation by Peter Waring, Project Manager and E A Senior Flood Advisor, Kent and South London pdf icon PDF 2 MB

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(1)       Mr Peter Waring (EA Senior Flood Advisor, Kent and SE London) gave a presentation. The accompanying slides are contained within the electronic agenda papers on the KCC website.


(2)       Mr Waring introduced himself as the Middle Medway Flood Resilience Scheme Project Manager.   He showed the Committee a diagram of the Medway Catchment and identified the Middle Medway as within the Low Weald, focused on the confluence of the Medway, the Beult and the Teise and incorporating the Lesser Teise.   It contained the parishes of Yalding, Hunton, Collier Street, Marden, Nettlestead, East Farleigh, West Farleigh Wateringbury, Teston and Barming as well as a number of smaller communities.


(3)       Mr Waring then said that the Middle Medway area had always been at risk of flooding and that significant flooding events occurred every couple of decades.  Records indicated that flooding had been taking place since at least 1643.  He added that the impact of flooding on society had increased continually over the years.  Furthermore, flooding incidents were now happening more frequently and with greater intensity due to changing weather patterns. 


(4)       Mr Waring briefly set out some of the existing flood risk management measures within the Medway catchment.  There was a series of embankments at Edenbridge to protect the town as well as the flood storage area at Leigh, where the capacity was going to be increased for the benefit of Tonbridge and Hildenborough. The capacity increase at Leigh would, however, have a minimal beneficial impact on the Middle Medway area. 


(5)       Mr Waring went on to say that the EA had considered a number of options to reduce flood risk in the Middle Medway area.  Unfortunately, none of these could be implemented without increasing the risk to other communities or without incurring far greater cost than the benefit to the community that they would protect. The EA had, for example looked at storage on the rivers Beult and Teise; at walls and embankments around communities; and at measures to improve conveyance through the flood plain. None of these had been cost effective or had any technical merit. This meant that the only remaining option was property flood resilience.


(6)       Mr Waring moved on to discuss property flood resilience in detail.  He said that there were two aspects to this. These were resistance and resilience.  Resistance was the installation of measures that prevented the ingress of flood water into the property.  This could include door barriers, flood doors, and non-return valves on waste pipes. These were “passive” structures that would prevent internal flooding even if there was nobody inside because they did not have to be re-installed or switched on.  Resilience did not prevent the ingress of flood water. It was the use of material to enable the rapid recovery of the property if internal flooding took place. It involved the use of materials such as lime plaster (which did not contain gypsum or other soluble materials), and closed cell plastic insulation (which was impervious to dampness).  These materials would enable  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Environment Agency and Met Office Alerts and Warnings and KCC severe weather response activity since the last meeting pdf icon PDF 78 KB

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(1)       Mr Harwood introduced the report.  He informed the Committee that since publication of the papers there had been an additional fluvial flood alert on the River Eden issued by the Environment Agency (paragraph 2.5) and an additional Met Office severe weather warning for wind (paragraph 2.6).  It was also noted that the last closures of the Thames Barrier (Appendix 3) had taken place in 2019 rather than in 2018 as set out in the table. 


(2)       Mr Harwood referred to paragraph 2.1 of the report which showed that the above average rainfall in November and December had been followed by two months where it had been below average, leading to all river catchments in Kent being in the “below normal” to “notably low” ranges.


(3)       Mr Harwood then drew attention to paragraph 3.2 of the report which set out the risk of coastal flooding in combination with high winds in the periods between 20 and 25 March, 18 and 23 April, and 17 and 21 May.


(4)       Mr Harwood said that the county had not seen the flood impacts that had been prevalent in previous years.  The ground was dry for the time of year when rivers and reservoirs were usually replenished.  During the high levels of rainfall in November and December, water had been diverted to the reservoirs, which were consequently at a good level.  Groundwater and river levels were, however, now very low.


(5)       Mr Harwood then said that although the main concern was lack of rainfall, the current trend of flash flooding concentrated in very localised parts of the county would continue to be a risk during the summer.   There was a need to remain vigilant and to plan appropriately.


(6)       The Chairman said that the recent unseasonal warm weather had resulted in local flora sucking up more water than would normally have been the case because of the extended growing season.   He had discussed this with Affinity Water and Southern Water who had both expressed concern over the potential effects that could result.  At the same time the spring tides could cause problems due to the oscillations in the jet stream.   He was confident in the ability of KCC staff to respond effectively to emergencies in any of these circumstances.  


(7)       In response to a question from Mr Thomas, Mr Harwood said that community resilience was a significant area of work for the Emergency Planning Team.  He would welcome the opportunity to help Local Members scope the specific issues within their electoral divisions so that they could report back to their communities. 


(8)       Mrs Brown said that the most important things that local representatives from districts or parishes at risk of flooding could do were to urge their constituents to sign up to receive flood warnings and to ensure that they knew who their local flood warden was. 


(9)         RESOLVED that the report and content of the ensuing discussion be noted.