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Flooding

Cuckmere Catchment Partnership

The Catchment Partnership has applied to Defra to take part in a pilot scheme which will be fed into the new Agri-Environmental. Scheme in 2023 to replace the existing EU schemes. This has been headed by Natural England, SE Water and the South East Rivers Trust. The bid had been successful, although the contract is still waited for.

They have decided to concentrate on the area round Hailsham due to the high level of development and the impact this will have on agriculture and the environment, so we may get a chance to have our concerns and ideas aired.

They are using our side of Hailsham because the Pevensey Levels is a protected landscape with its own rules.

There is also concern about the quality and volume of the excess water entering the Levels and work is being undertaken to study this from various organisations. The upgrade to the Hailsham North Sewage works will not happen before 2021, and this will restrict the number of the new houses which can be provided before it is up and running.

Pevensey Levels and Cuckmere Water Management Board

The PLCMB have agreed to fund a one-off de-shingling of the Estuary. For the last few years the Environment Agency have ceased to fund the clearance of the shingle which is pushed along by long-shore drift from Seaford. The shingle has built up to such an extent that the mouth is now completely blocked and the river ceases and disappears into the shingle. This has resulted in a raised river level, which makes it impossible for the Board to do its work and keep the structures in the Lower Cuckmere working.

This has a direct effect on Hellingly because if we get very heavy rainfall, as happened in 2000, the water has nowhere to go. In that event 20 houses in Hellingly were flooded. We have been lucky since then, although it has been a matter of only a few centimetres before properties were flooded.

The money will absorb all the contingency fund for the Cuckmere but the work is essential, however, it is dependent on several organisations such as the Environment Agency and Natural England giving consent. The work is dependent on the shingle being put on the east beach, where it will hopefully reach Birling Gap, which is so denuded of shingle that it vastly increases the risk of cliff falls.

In the 1950s there was a railway from the sea to the car park bringing shingle to be used for the construction industry.