Local initiatives to maintain sea walls inspected by Priti Patel MP
Witham MP Priti Patel has visited and inspected the sea wall in Tollesbury with representatives from the Environment Agency (EA) and the Essex Coast Organisation Ltd (ECO). Priti met with the EA’s Area Director, Graham Verrier; Technical Specialist, John Lindsay; Dave Simpson, Field Team Leader; and Joe Rogers, Catchment Engineer, along with local landowner and Chair of the ECO, Andrew St Joseph. Some smaller repairs to the sea wall and flood defences are carried out by local landowners who have established ECO in an innovative scheme developed in collaboration with the EA. Priti viewed the sea wall in Tollesbury and saw sites that had been repaired on the RSPB Old Hall Marshes and nature reserve.
Priti said:“Tollesbury has a unique environment with its saltmarshes and nature reserves and incredible scenery with the Blackwater Estuary. Maintaining the environment and protecting the area from flooding is important and I commend the work of local landowners who have taken a strong interest over many years in maintaining the sea wall.”
“Andrew has been a great local champion of this cause and sea walls in other parts of the County are benefiting from the example of collaboration and practice with the Environment Agency shown here. I will be continuing to highlight this work with the Government and press Ministers for more support for flood defences to protect homes and businesses in Essex.”
Andrew St Joseph commented:“The seawalls of Essex – all 350 km of them – are key infrastructure for the County. Many are over 300 years old. They protect thousands from homes from flooding as well as many farms and businesses, not to mention roads, railways and water treatment works.”
“As well as flood risk management, they are an integral part of the England Coast Path and require funds to be well managed for both uses. We are proud to be a locally based organisation using private and public funding to develop the most cost-effective forms of management. We work closely with the Environment Agency to fine tune the necessary regulations to enable defects to be quickly and simply repaired. We are grateful to Priti for the opportunity to highlight this effective partnership with the EA and ECC Highways.”