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New flood defences for Guildford town centre to be considered

New flood defences for Guildford Town Centre will be discussed as part of the Council's review of Guildford Flood Alleviation Scheme proposals.

The Environment Agency (EA) recently carried out a study on behalf of GFAS - a partnership between the EA, the Council, Surrey County Council (SCC), National Trust and Thames Water - and this report will be reviewed by the Council over the next six months.

Earlier this month, Leader of the Council, Cllr Caroline Reeves wrote to 70 households in Guildford whose properties are prone to flooding during severe weather to update them on the project. Cllr Caroline Reeves says: "I have always been concerned about the damage flooding can do to our residents' properties and, as Chairman of the GFAS, remain committed to working with our partners to find a solution to this issue. Guildford has a history of flooding and it is important that we find sustainable flood defences to protect our most vulnerable houses and businesses. Our robust masterplan to revive Guildford town centre involves tackling environmental issues such as flooding, and we will be addressing this long-standing problem."

A previous EA study in 2019 suggested long-term effective flood barriers that could withstand climate change, at a cost of £30 million. However, the cost and effectiveness of these defences has now been questioned by the EA themselves after a further review. 

Cllr Caroline Reeves adds: "After appointing a flood specialist to review the studies by the EA, we will be looking at alternative flood defence options over the next six months. Further research needs to be carried out to look at other ways of controlling the River Wey to achieve long-term effectiveness and climate change protection. We have felt the financial impact of the Coronavirus pandemic and need to find a way to fund these flood defences."

Published on Monday 21 September.