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Flats at Sovereign Harbour, Eastbourne

"Living in the Death Zone"


This, rather dramatically entitled, 28 minute, BBC "Southern Eye" programme was broadcast on BBC2 in 2000, following severe flooding on the south coast.

There are about 2,500 kilometres of UK coastline, all but 800 metres of which are maintained by the Environment Agency from the public purse. Harbour residents are unique in having to fund the maintenance of the Sovereign Harbour beaches, in addition to the rest of the local coastline.

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Important to Note

Before watching this programme, you should be aware that the risk of flooding at Sovereign Harbour is extremely low. The sea defences here are maintained as part of a 25 year PFI contract covering the coastline from Holywell in the west to Cooden in the east, and are designed to withstand a catastrophic 1:400 year event.

The purpose of showing the programme is not to frighten owners or prospective purchasers of harbour properties, but to highlight the way in which developers and the Environment Agency worked together to absolve themselves of a contractual obligation to provide sea defences, and move the burden of payment onto residents.

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