A town at future risk

The flooded Strand Quay, Rye after the tidal surge in December 2013. Anticipated sea level rises will overwhelm current flood defences

An alleged tidal increase of over a metre this century would mean all
existing defences being revisited and all new defences having to be reconsidered particularly for Eastern Rother.

We know from a few years back that, though the nature reserve soakaway reduced the impact of a very high December tide by diverting a lot of water into the reserve, we were still only a few inches of water below the the walls and defences surrounding Rock Channel and Strand Quay – and disaster.

So a “Rye Barrier” in the form of a lock just the town side of the trading estate wharf would make sense and still allow some “port” activities and fishermen on the seaward side – though Rye Harbour might need some additional defences.

In Camber however the issue would be using a mix of sea wall and dunes to carry the existing wall up to the edge of Camber at Jury Gap right through westwards to the Rother’s mouth.

We should not forget that until relatively recently Rye was surrounded by water and if we do not plan ahead, nature could reclaim what it has lost in the last few hundred years.

Image Credits: John Minter.


  1. A report published on October 26th by the Committee on Climate Change, which advises the UK Govt, warns that rising waters pose a growing threat. They say they have increased by 15cm since 1900 and could rise by another 50-80cm by the end of this century as a result of man-made global warming.
    Get the buckets out…

  2. Whether our flood defences are adequate or not, for today or in the future, there needs to be access to the defences for maintenance or improvements.
    This means that any new developments should be kept well away from flood walls and access routes should be designated and kept clear. These are strategic issues that should be taken into account by planners when considering development proposals. It is not obvious how suitable access could be achieved to maintain or raise defences beside recent developments adjacent to Rye’s floodwalls???

  3. Yes we live in a changing world…how fast is the question. The report from the Committee for Climate Change just published, that we will have to adapt.
    The Met Office are due to publish their ten year forecast on climate change next month, this should be the main ‘driver’ for the EA to adapt their sea defence policies.


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