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Environment Agency boss hears flood fears
8:00pm Monday 9th September 2013 in Echo News
A CAMPAIGNING councillor raised concerns about flooding when a top boss from the Environment Agency came to Canvey.
Ray Howard planned to discuss recent problems on the island with Graham Verrier.
Mr Verrier has taken over at the helm for the eastern region and is visited the island to see its flood defences.
Mr Howard, who survived the great Canvey flood of 1953, said he would speak to Mr Verrier on the recent torrential downpours, which affected about 400 properties on the island.
Mr Howard said: “It’s an ideal opportunity to tell him about the recent flooding and learn lessons from it.
“Everyone has got to work together. I always like promoting Canvey. We’ve got the best flood defenses here. I’m pleased Mr Verrier is coming down and honoured he asked to come here.”
On his visit, Mr Verrier was given a tour, which will take in the Benfleet barrier, near Benfleet train station, the Dutch Cottage museum, Canvey sea wall, where the group will drop into the Lobster Smack pub, and the Labworth and Island yacht clubs.
Mr Verrier, whose formal title is area flood and costal risk manager, told the Echo: “I’m new to the eastern region, but am very aware that Canvey has a lot of flood risk and a huge population.
“Councillor Howard plays a role in giving us a steer as an organisation. He has a lot of local knowledge.
“We had discussions immediately after the recent flooding and are working with the local authority on that issue.”
Following the flooding, criticisms were made about the lack of information and emergency planning in place on Canvey.
Mr Howard and other councillors have since called for flood sirens to be switched back on, after the Environment Agency, which operates a new radio and text alert system, failed to activate it because the flooding was caused by rainfall and not a tidal surge, such as the one that caused the devastating 1953 flood.
Many roads including Eastern Esplanade, Western Esplanade and Maurice Road, were turned into rivers as rain battered the county on August 24.
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