Raising river’s tidal walls

The Rother divides Kent from Sussex for most of its length apart from the final stretch around Rye close to the sea

Earlier this year Rye News was  reporting on how close the town came to being flooded, and there was an even closer call at the end of 2013, writes Charles Harkness.

In 2015 Rye News reported on the very high tides then which flooded the Wednesday Farmers Market on Strand Quay.

The photo above shows in particular how much of the eastern bank of the Rother river is at risk from possible flooding – particularly if fierce winds cause a tidal surge on days when the tide is at its predicted high point anyway.

Some 1,400 homes in Rye are said to be at risk of flooding, that risk figures strongly when new housing developments are being considered, and the Environment Agency has had to make that point strongly to Rother District Council (RDC) planners.

So, for the same reasons, improvements to Rye’s flood defences have been high on the Agency’s agenda. Kenneth Bird reports below on the latest developments.

Looking upstream to the railway bridge,gardens abutt the existing embankment

The long-awaited project to raise the eastern embankment of the Rother river is now under way. A private exhibition was held by invitation only for King’s Avenue and New Road residents on Tuesday April 18 at the Rye Creative Centre in New Road.

Flood Risk technical managers from the Environment Agency (EA) were on hand to explain the proposals and answer questions.

The tidal lock at Scots Float

Extending from the river mouth to Scots Float sluice and lock upstream near the turning off Military Road to Houghton Green and Iden, where the river ceases to be tidal, the work is part of the larger Folkestone to Cliff End project which has so far involved more than £130 million being spent on the protection of Romney Marsh.

The focus of the exhibition was upon the area north of Monkbretton bridge, which lies between the river and houses on King’s Avenue. In order to raise the embankment level, its base will need to be widened.

Negotiations are now proceeding with the landowners, understood to be Amicus Horizon, the housing association, and local residents.

The exhibition was open “by invitation only”, apparently on the grounds that the EA is bound by the civil service rules governing election-period publicity known as “purdah” when any type of activity which may influence voters is suspended.

The county council elections and now the calling of the general election on June 8 were the reasons cited.

However, the EA intends to hold a fuller public exhibition in the summer.

Photos : Kenneth Bird, Rye News Library and (Tidal lock) geograph.org.uk

Image Credits: Ray Prewer .


  1. This will be good news to the residents of Kings avenue, and new road, and has been long overdue,as for the farmers market flooding in 2015, surely then it should not be situated inside the flood walls,that is why they were built in the first place to protect us from flooding.

  2. This is good news that the defences on the eastern bank of the Rother are being enhanced. Until these week spots are fixed the whole of the marsh is at risk.
    Rye will always be at risk whilst the sea can flow up the Rother unrestricted.


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