More than 1,400 Kent homes and businesses are to be given greater protection against flooding from a scheme to increase reservoir capacity.

KCC is helping to fund work at the Leigh Flood Storage Area, to be carried out by the Environment Agency following approval by the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

The capacity of will be increased by nearly a quarter and enlarging the reservoir also means that a new flood embankment can be constructed, protecting premises and homes in Tonbridge and Hildenborough.

The Environment Agency expects to appoint contractors next spring with works expected to start in summer 2022 and the scheme completed in autumn 2024.

Sally Harvey, Environment Agency Area Director, Kent, South London and East Sussex, said: “We will now be able to proceed with the Leigh expansion and Hildenborough embankment scheme which will reduce flood risk to over 1,400 homes in Tonbridge and Hildenborough.”

Tony Hills – KCC’s Deputy Cabinet Member for Environment

Tony Hills, Kent County Council’s Deputy Cabinet Member for the Environment, said: “The Leigh Flood Storage Area, which will reduce the flood risk on the River Medway and help the county to be resilient to climate change.

“Once it is complete, this scheme will significantly reduce the risk of flooding in Tonbridge and surrounding communities and the disruption this causes to lives and livelihoods.”

Cllr Robin Betts, Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council Cabinet member for environment and climate change, said: “This project is an important step in response to climate change and the increased risk of flooding in the coming years.

“We know only too well that many homes and businesses have been seriously flooded in the past and the fear of this happening again still exists for many. Once complete the new flood defence measures will offer reassurance to communities and considerable improvement to reduce the risk of flooding in the future.”

By Ed

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