Medway and Swale Strategy Adopted

The Environment Agency has now finalized and adopted the Medway Estuary and Swale Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Strategy (MEASS).

This sets out the best economic, environmental and technically appropriate approach to managing flood and coastal erosion risk over the next 100 years.

As reported, the strategy identifies the best technical solutions for flood defense, while also considering the impacts and benefits for local communities, the environment and the cost to the taxpayer.

In developing MEASS, a wide range of studies have been carried out to understand the likely impacts of climate change and sea level rise over the short, medium and long-term on:

  • the existing flood defenses;
  • the flood risk to communities and infrastructure;
  • internationally important habitat and other land.

We have considered the economic value of flood risk areas against the costs of protecting it in the future, and used this to determine the most sustainable policy for different sections of the coastline,” said the Environment Agency.

The policies are either:

  • hold the line – to build or maintain artificial defenses so that the position of the shoreline remains;
  • managed realignment – allowing the shoreline to move naturally, but managing the process to direct it in certain areas;
  • no active intervention – there is no planned investment in defending against flooding or erosion, whether or not an artificial defense has existed previously.

These policies were widely consulted upon and agreed by partners including the local councils, Natural England, English Heritage and Defra.