Confident over sea defence bid

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ENVIRONMENT bosses have given the strongest sign yet that the Fylde coast will secure new flood defences.

Campaigners for new flood defence projects in Anchorsholme and Rossall have welcomed an announcement from the Environment Agency that £74m has been set aside for the schemes, which could begin in 2014.

Coun Tony Williams, Anchorsholme ward councillor, said: “We are one bad storm away from floods which could cause havoc so I’m delighted by the announcement.”

But Coun Roger Berry, cabinet member with responsibility for sea defences at Wyre Council, said: “We are trying to bring the scheme forward to commence in 2013.”

But Keith Riley, former Mayor of Wyre, who was part of Fleetwood Flood Association pressure group after his Rossall home was flooded in the 1970s, said: “I was expecting work to start this year. We’ve been told the current sea defences only have a five year life expectancy. It needs to be brought forward.”

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It is hoped Blackpool and Wyre councils can get better value for money by seeking tenders together.

Andy Shore, from the Environment Agency said: “In Rossall and Anchorsholme, indicative funding has been allocated to schemes worth £58m and £16m respectively.

“If the councils are successful in their bid, the schemes could begin in 2014 or 2015 to reduce the risk of flooding to more than 12,000 homes.”

Blackpool Council deputy leader Coun Fred Jackson added: “We are currently working on a business case to submit this summer.

“If we can secure this funding and complete the two schemes, it will mean the Fylde Coast will be protected from coastal flooding for many years to come.”