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Guildford: Call for residents to pay attention to flood plans

Image source, BBC/Julia Gregory

Image caption, John Rigg has called on Guildford residents to back proposals to prevent flooding

  • Author, Julia Gregory
  • Role, BBC News, Guildford

Residents in Guildford are being urged to “pay attention” to plans to reduce flooding in the town.

With 10,000 new homes planned for the area and a predicted increase in rainfall, the Environment Agency (EA) is developing a flood risk management scheme for Guildford, which has history of flooding.

The joint project between the EA, Guildford Borough Council and Surrey County Council will aim to reduce flood risk and help residents adapt to climate change.

Former councillor John Rigg said: “If we are struggling with rainfall from past decades and we’ve now got this transition, we have to take action.”

The EA says Guildford has a long history of flooding from the River Wey, with “significant floods” in the past causing damage to homes and businesses.

The River Wey, which runs through the town, burst its banks as recently as January.

Mr Rigg told BBC Radio Surrey the EA was envisaging a 72% increase in rainfall in the area, and pointed to the “great flood” of 1968 as well as those in the 1980s and in 2013.

Speaking ahead of a public consultation, he said that being able to redevelop town centre sites would “take the pressure off” green belt sites around the town being used for new homes.

Image source, BBC/Julia Gregory

Image caption, The River Wey runs through Guildford town centre

The EA said it plans to carry out ground investigations and surveys as part of the management scheme.

It said: “We will make sure any proposals will work to manage the flood risk while not increasing flood risk elsewhere.”

Mr Rigg said: “I understand lots of people will say: ‘Does it concern me?’

“I hope the people of Guildford will pay attention, and will go along and will support the EA proposals.”

As well as a public consultation event, residents have access to an online feedback form until 17 May.

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