KM Column - Leigh Flood Storage Area - 27 September 2018
I’m sure we all remember the terrible floods of Christmas 2013 and the lasting destruction they left behind. I certainly do. That is why I have been working hard over the past five years to make sure that the hundreds of families, homes and businesses who were affected by these devastating floods, would not face the same danger again.
Although the damage caused by these floods took months, and sometimes even years to recover from, it could have been much worse had the Leigh Flood Storage Area not been working and able to control the amount of water that flowed downstream. that’s why it's so important we are able to expand and improve this storage facility, to ensure that, if there is a next time, more homes and businesses are protected.
Over the past few years, I, along with the Environment Agency, Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council, and Kent County Council, have been working hard to raise the money needed to build this expansion. After making several bids to Government, last year we secured a large part of the money needed, but not all.
However, I’m delighted to say that we’ve recently secured the extra £2.3million needed, from the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP), to allow the flood reservoir water level to be increased to 29 metres at Leigh, and install a new control structure and pumping station on the River Medway. As a result of these funds over 1,500 homes and businesses will be protected, which is a fantastic result.
I know that there is still more to do elsewhere to protect more families and businesses who need our help, but this is excellent news for Tonbridge, Hildenborough and Leigh, and will go a long way to ensuring that we do not get a repeat of the devastation we experienced 5 years ago.