At a meeting last week the local MP, Maria Caulfield, the Parish Council and the Friends of Cuckmere met with The Environment Agency (EA) to work out an action plan to tackle the terrible problems the river Cuckmere has had in recent months with flooding in the winter and dying fish in the summer.
A breakthrough was reached when it was announced by the Environment Agency that they would be spending £95,000 to re-start annual dredging of the river mouth over the next five years. This will ensure the river continues to flow and will prevent flooding this winter and ensure better management of the river. In addition it was agreed to look at handing over the management of the river to the Friends of Cuckmere and the local water management board to ensure that a more holistic management of the river, in terms of looking after the meanders and sluice gates, can start to happen.
Following last year’s flooding, as a result of lack of dredging, Maria Caulfield MP supported the Pevensey & Cuckmere Water Level Management Board in their one off dredging of the river and has been working with them to convince the EA to devolve the powers to dredge the river to them. Over the summer again a lack of dredging led to problems with hundreds of dead fish in the Cuckmere as oxygen levels in the water plummeted as the lack of dredging stopped the flow of water. The local MP has continued to lobby the EA, who have now begun dredging the Cuckmere again.
Maria Caulfield MP said “Whenever the dredging of the Cuckmere is stopped we see problems, whether it is flooding of local fields or the mass death of fish in the river. It is great news that we have reached this deal with the Environment Agency to solve these problems and I am sure residents will welcome this news.”