Many of the projects we carry out are located in the heart of the local community – and ultimately the majority of our work is for the benefit of local residents.
We understand that it is essential that we become part of the communities in which we operate, and work in partnership with local residents to achieve this aim.
Recent examples of our approach include:
At Orchard Wharf, Blackwall in London our engagement with the local community resulted in zero complaints and a number of letters of praise. Under the theme ‘What the Environment Agency does For You’, we invited pupils from a local school to learn about the EA’s role in protecting communities from flooding.
At West Wittering, our project team worked with the local community to help them rally together and contribute £650,000 towards the cost of the £1.7m project. This ensured that the scheme continued and also created a project which the local people greatly support because of their involvement in its success.
At the Medmerry Managed Realignment Scheme we employed a dedicated public liaison officer to ensure that the local community has been involved from early in the project, through detailed design and into construction. An Aspirations Group was set up at an early stage to gather outcomes from the community that the project could achieve.
The Medmerry Stakeholders Advisory Group (MStAG) comprises representatives from the district and parish councils, Save our Selsey, local landowners and farmers, residents’ group, local wildlife and heritage groups. MStAG meets regularly to help design the public access and visitor facilities that form an important part of the scheme. MStAG is also the link to the wider community, acting as a conduit for information between the project and the public.
Community liaison activity has included public exhibitions, letter drops, face-to-face meetings with local landowners and articles in local publications. We’ve also conducted guided walks, talks to local interest groups and school visits. As a result of all of this activity, the Medmerry communications team has been shortlisted for a 2012 CIPR PRide award for community engagement.
At Braunton, we increased the width of the river between the town’s Memorial Gardens and Bowling Club. This included a two-stage flood alleviation channel and new retaining walls by the Bowling Club. The design exemplifies green infrastructure principles and incorporates a low lying river walk during normal flow, surrounded by landscaped flood banks which have increased river flow capacity to protect residents and businesses. Throughout these works the Bowling Club was accessible for recreational use and remained undisturbed.