I have sent the following letter (11th December 2023) to the Leader of IW Council today as I am seriously worried about the cumulative effect of the excessive rainfall the East Coast of Isle of Wight and Island as whole is experiencing.
Dear Cllr Jordan,
I am urgently writing to you as I am really worried about the lives and well-being of residents on the East Coastline from Wootton to Ventnor which make up the new parliamentary constituency of East Wight.
The recent sad events in Bonchurch with huge landslips added to the recent floods in Ryde and other parts of the Island, paint a sad picture of Climate Change reality.
Climate Change and extreme weather conditions alongside the complex geology of the Island need to be urgently reviewed. Our unique geology cannot withstand the level of rain we are experiencing.
It has been stated in local news outlets that “Officials are concerned that over the coming weeks, further problems could arise on the Island as it takes around 2-4 months for water to seep through the ground. This means it is likely we are now seeing the result of August’s unseasonably wet weather which saw around 110mm of rainfall recorded in that month”
In September there was 64mm, in October a massive 250mm and November 200mm, suggesting the risk of further landslides and other environmental realities in 2024.
From March 2022 to March 2023 there were 16787 hours when sewage was discharged by Southern Water into our waters. In October and November there was a single duration event lasting 681 hours at Sandown. The environmental combination of surface rainfall and sewage releases is getting so regular and significant that you cannot describe this other than an environmental crisis and emergency.
This is all evidence that we are experiencing an Island environmental Climate Change emergency and that the Island’s fragile coastline whether on land or in the marine zone cannot cope with this level of rainfall. It appears that this is continuing well into December. IW Council has an existing crisis of housing families/residents in crisis and Bonchurch landslip will add to this.
There needs to urgently to be a moratorium of all developments and a total rethink of coastal and environmental protection particularly on the East Coast which is the more densely populated than the West.
There needs to be an urgent Island environmental risk assessment and all development, a half-mile from the coastland should be postponed and all planning permissions and applications put on hold. We cannot think about developments in anyway whilst residents lives and well-being are at risk due to the reality of the rain levels we are experiencing.
These are not 100 year events (both quoted for landslips in Bonchurch and recent floods in Ryde) but the reality of what we are going to expect. I wish to reconfirm my recent call for a moratorium of all developments a half-a-mile from the coastline.
Cllr Michael Lilley
IW Councillor for Ryde Appley and Elmfield
Ryde Town Councillor for Ryde Appley and Elmfield
Chair of Policy and Scrutiny Committee for Health and Social Care (IW Council)