By Fran Southgate
Wetland Landscapes Officer
Transition Town Worthing is inviting local residents to a public meeting about flooding, how it affects you and what you can do about it. The free talk, with Q&A session will take place at Quaker Meeting House in Mill Road, Worthing, from 7.30 p.m. on Thursday 27 April. Flooding is something which now affects many of our lives.
Changes in weather patterns, increased development and a range of other factors are increasingly putting flooding in the spotlight. Flooding in urban areas is caused not just by river flooding but by rain water running off roofs, hard surfaces, paved-over gardens, car parks and overloaded drains. As we get increasingly frequent and heavy downpours the situation gets worse. There isn’t a lot that we can do about river flooding, but there is plenty that we can do to reduce the risk of urban flooding.
Since the year 2000, over 12 billion pounds have been spent on clearing up the devastation caused by floods in the UK, and hundreds of thousands of people (as well as a lot of wildlife) have been affected. Twice as much money was spent on dealing with the after effects of flooding than on preventing flooding in the first place, and nearly four times as much money is spent on land management that ignores or increases flood risk than on land management that helps to prevent flooding.
Fran Southgate from Sussex Wildlife Trust says “Many organisations now acknowledge the role that we can all play in taking responsibility for flooding. There are simple measures that we can use to help reduce the impacts of flooding, particularly in our towns and villages. If 10,000 people have them, then even small things like garden ponds or
a water butts can have a huge positive cumulative effect on helping to reduce localized flooding. We can’t prevent all flooding, but we can help people to reduce it’s impacts”.
This informative session will include talks on what flooding is, where it comes from, sustainable flood management in urban areas, and the simple measures that you can take to reduce your local surface water flooding. Representatives of West Sussex County Council
,and Environment Agency will be there to answer your questions. We will aim to discuss where a community-scale rain garden could be most effective, and where the funding for this might come from. Come along to find out more, tell us about flooding you have noticed, or to join a Flood Action group.