Letter: No slacking in the Lavant flood crisis

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The Independent Online
Sir: Your article 'The little river that roared' (13 January), while generally excellent in explaining the situation in Chichester, closes with a paragraph that is untrue.

The assertion that the National Rivers Authority has 'refused to take responsibility' for the river Lavant is wrong. The Lavant is designated as 'main river' and therefore comes within the jurisdiction of the National Rivers Authority. In the past 12 months a normal programme of work has been undertaken on the watercourse. This extreme situation, with river flow at levels which would normally occur only once in 200 years, highlights the ability of this type of chalk stream to react violently to prolonged rainfall.

During the emergency, NRA staff with all the other emergency services involved have worked tirelessly to ensure that this natural phenomenon has as little impact as possible on the people of Chichester and surrounding areas.

Obviously in the light of the current problems the NRA will reassess the city's flood protection.

Yours faithfully,

KEVIN WHITEMAN

Regional General Manager

National Rivers Authority

Worthing, West Sussex

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