The picture of Pett Level above shows the height of the sea defences. The land is only just above sea level and it is these defences that keep the sea at bay and usable for livestock. Of course, it used to be underwater, and the hills that can be seen were the old coastline. The land between Cliff End and Folkestone has a 1 in 5 risk of flooding in any year. This risk will increase if sea levels rise due to climate change. Nearly 20,000 homes are at risk of being lost permanently due to floods or cliff erosion as well as acres of prime farmland. In an attempt to avoid that the Environment Agency has developed a strategy plan to reduce the risk over the next 50 to 100 years. It is an interesting document, if you find that type of thing interesting.
If the worst did happen, and Pett Level and Rye Bay were inundated there is a comprehensive emergency plan in place. Written in 2007, and not updated since then as far as I can tell, it gives some great insight into how a disaster would be managed. The warnings system includes using Ceefax and a vehicle mounted loudhailer, presumably driven by climatologist Pierce Brosnan, with the recently divorced local weather expert and her children as passengers.
The emergency services will coordinate the evacuation, and rendezvous areas have been identified. They will try their best to evacuate those people considered vulnerable, using theÂ â€˜Identifying Vulnerable Persons in a major Emergencyâ€™ document. People requiring evacuation will be able to take their pets with them, as long as they are not considered to be exotic. Especially snakes. No one wants snakes in an emergency rest area.
If you intend to stay at home and fight the floods, you are entitled to obtain and fill a maximum of 12 sand bags for free from Rother Council. Sounds stingy, but they’ll be fighting alongside you to limit the flooding and will need all the sandbags they can get.
The map within the document shows how extensive the flooding would be if the defences were ever breached. It’s good to know that a disaster plan exists, but lets hope it never happens. Pett Level is too beautiful to lose to the sea.