East Cowes Flood Risk Management Scheme Information Page

Closes 29 Sep 2028

Opened 8 Nov 2021


Welcome to the East Cowes Flood Risk Management Scheme Information Page.

We have created this page to provide easy access to information on the East Cowes Flood Risk Management Scheme, one of a number of coastal defence projects on the Isle of Wight. We will be updating this site as the project progresses, so please keep checking for what’s new.

If you would like to be added to our mailing list to receive updates on this project or any other of the Isle of Wight coastal defence projects, please email us and let us know which projects you are interested in. 

For information on other coastal defence projects on the Isle of Wight see here.


The Environment Agency is working in partnership with Isle of Wight Council, Red Funnel and GKN Aerospace on a phased scheme to reduce tidal flood risk to 68 homes and 26 commerical properties in East Cowes.

The town has seen many flood events over the past century and in recent years our monitoring has shown increasing tide levels at the harbour. With expected sea level rise associated with climate change projections, we need to be prepared for the future.

A heavy engineered approach such as a conventional concrete defence was investigated but found to be unaffordable due to Treasury benefit/cost rules. In 2020 an alternative phased scheme was approved which will provide increased flood protection to 68 homes and 26 commercial properties at risk of tidal flooding until 2055. Phase 1 - 34 homes, Phase 2 - 34 homes and 26 commercial properties.

Phase 1

Phase 1 of the East Cowes Flood Risk Management Scheme received financial approval in 2020 to begin a scheme to protect 34 residential and 26 commercial properties in the town centre from tidal flooding using a temporary barrier. The 350 metres of barrier was planned to start from the Waitrose store, passing through the Red Funnel marshalling yard and finishing at the junction of Clarence Road and York Avenue.

The barrier deployment plan, the 350 metres of temporary barrier and pumping equipment were ready for deployment, as required, from September 2021.

However, due to incidents with temporary defences which slipped at Bewdley and Ironbridge on the River Severn, a national review was started to understand the risks and mitigations needed to ensure temporary barriers are safe to deploy.

Our consulting engineers recommended placing large concrete blocks on the back of the barrier to prevent slipping. In doing this at this location, there would be increased health and safety concerns and disturbance to residents. Large machinery would be required to lift blocks in public areas, and we would need to shut roads and restrict access to factories and the chain ferry for several days.

After consulting with Isle of Wight Council we have decided that barrier deployment is now undeliverable at this location due to time it would take to deploy and health and safety concerns, and that we should seek a different approach to better protecting this area of East Cowes from tidal flooding.

More Information

We will be investigating installation of Property Flood Resilience (PFR) measures for the residential properties which would have been better protected from tidal flooding by the barrier. Unfortunately, government funding rules mean that commercial properties will not qualify.

More Information

PFR involves fitting measures to a building that reduce the risk of internal property flooding. Measures can include replacing existing doors with flood resistant doors, fitting non-return valves in below-ground drainage pipes and replacing air bricks with self-closing air bricks. These are termed ’passive’ measures which require no operation by residents and wherever possible these will be fitted. In properties that have Listed Building designation, drop-in flood boards (active measures) will be supplied to be fitted by residents upon receipt of a flood warning from us.

More Information

We are writing a business case to seek approval and funding for PFR measures for the 34 residential properties that would have been better protected by the temporary barrier. We hope to have a decision by summer 2022. If our bid for funding is successful, we would hope to fit the PFR measures to those residential properties who would like them before the end of March 2023. We are hand delivering an update to the 34 residential properties explaining the position, week commencing 27 June 2022. Once we have a decision on our business case, we will hold an invitation only drop-in session to update the residents affected. This is likely to be at East Cowes Town Hall.

More Information

On behalf of the UK government, the Environment Agency prioritise and allocate funding to flood and coastal erosion risk management schemes using a partnership funding approach. Securing national funding is dependent on the scale of benefits and outcomes delivered by a scheme and, if required, additional funding contributions may be required from other sources. Unfortunately, the scale and benefits to better protect the 26 commercial properties does not meet government thresholds to secure funding. We are hand delivering an update explaining the prosition to the 26 commercial properties, week commencing 27 June 2022. We would be happy to discuss what options are available for individual commercial properties.

Phase 2

Phase 2 of the East Cowes Flood Risk Management Scheme is currently underway with contractors appointed to deliver PFR to 34 properties at 2 locations in East Cowes, the Esplanade area and an area next to the chain ferry. We have already had an 83% sign up for government funded PFR measures. Our contractors will have fitted PFR measures to these properties by July 2022.

Multi-Agency Plan

The Environment Agency, Southern Water, Island Roads, East Cowes Town Council and Isle of Wight Council are working together to reduce the risk of flooding to the residents of East Cowes. The multi-agency flood plan sets out an agreed coordinated response to flooding by all responding parties.

Improvements and upgrades have been made to assets and infrastructure with further improvements planned. These improvements will reduce the risk of flooding to East Cowes. The East Cowes Regeneration Scheme have committed funds to continue with improvements to East Cowes Sea Wall.

Be prepared for flooding

Please continue to be prepared and resilient towards flooding by signing up to receive advanced warnings of flooding. Register by calling Floodline 0345 988 1188, or visiting www.gov.uk/sign-up-for-flood-warnings. If you are already registered to the Floodline Warning Service, please check if your details need updating by visiting www.fws.environment-agency.gov.uk/app/olr/login

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Get in touch

Thank you for visiting the East Cowes Flood Risk Management Scheme Information Page.

Please contact us:

By email: EastCowesFRMS@environment-agency.gov.uk

By post: Environment Agency, Romsey Office, Canal Walk, Romsey, SO51 8DU

By phone: 03708 506 506.  Ask for Kim Smith or Vicky Spencer.


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