Selsey Frequently Asked Questions

Is my property at risk from flooding?

To check whether your property is at flood risk visit www.gov.uk/check-long-term-flood-risk 

What can I do to safeguard my property against flooding?

For practical advice on what you can do to protect yourself and your property before, during and after flooding visit https://coastalpartners.org.uk/protecting-against-flooding

Why is Selsey a risk area for coastal flooding and erosion?

Selsey Peninsula has an exposed coastline with a long history of managing coastal erosion and flood risk from the sea. Substantial areas of land have low ground levels and concrete sea walls help to reduce the risk of flooding and erosion in these areas. Before the construction of the sea wall, Selsey had one of the fastest erosion rates in the country due to its exposure to wave energy and currents.

Why are the current sea defences not suitable for the future?

Coastal defences do not last forever, and the current defences are reaching the end of their lifetime. As sea defences age they become increasingly costly to maintain and these defences were designed 50+ years ago for the conditions at the time. We are experiencing increased storminess and sea level rise and combined, mean the level of protection is also diminishing with time.

My property has never flooded, but the flood maps show I am at risk of flooding from the sea. Why is this?

Flood maps consider the risk or likelihood of flooding occurring. Factors such as ground levels and proximity to the sea can lead to an increased chance of flooding and this is represented on the maps. In some cases the areas identified may never have experienced flooding before.

Some mapping looks at future risk without defences in place (sometimes referred to as a ‘do nothing scenario’). This helps us understand what is at risk and demonstrate the need for defences.

Understanding what practical measures can be taken to protect yourself can help to manage this risk, follow this link for more information https://coastalpartners.org.uk/protecting-against-flooding.

When is flooding most likely to happen?

Flooding caused by overtopping of the coastal defences is the result of high winds, offshore storms and high tides with high energy swell waves and often a combination of the three. It is also possible that a breach in the sea wall adjacent to low-lying land could lead to flooding, although this is considered a very low risk as beach management is in place.

How can I find out about possible flooding in my area?

Ensuring you are aware of upcoming flood events can help to manage the risk. Sign up to Environment Agency flood warnings here https://www.gov.uk/sign-up-for-flood-warnings to receive updates.

What are the future plans for the sea defences?

The council recognises that the defences are ageing and fragile, and there are limited resources to maintain them.  Future defence failures should be anticipated. The Pagham to East Head Coastal Flood & Erosion Risk Management Strategy recognises the funding challenges faced at Selsey.

It is too early to say what the future of the defences will be with any certainty. The council has undertaken a feasibility assessment and produced a business case to help secure funding. The funding is to undertake an option appraisal and outline design of any possible coastal management. It is hoped that this will lead onto the detailed design and construction of new or enhanced defences which will be subject to further funding. The amount of funding available from central government to provide defences is limited, and there is strong competition for these funds across the country.

If the sea wall in front of my property fails, who will fix it and who will pay for it?

Private landowners have ultimate responsibility for protecting their own property from flooding and erosion but must do so under the terms of applicable legislation. If Government funding can be secured and if the works meet the requirements of environmental legislation, the Environment Agency and the District Council have ‘permissive powers’ to undertake works where appropriate. Government funding is based on a cost benefit assessment, with funding for defences limited.

What’s being done to protect Selsey right now?

The Selsey frontage is monitored by coastal engineers, and a programme of significant investment in beach management is in place to decrease wave energy and extend the life of the existing defences. This work involves replenishing beach material lost to natural processes and investing in the structures which retain it. Funding for this work is secured for at least the next two years.

What is the risk of erosion?

The current defences reduce the risk of erosion significantly, but their age means there is an increasing risk of defence failure. This is being managed through risk-based inspections and monitoring of the Selsey coastline. By doing this we ensure that any issues are identified as early as possible.

Additionally, the beach at Selsey is replenished every year through a beach management programme. Beach management is undertaken to decrease wave energy on the beach and extend the life of the existing defences.