Eastbourne and Willingdon MP Caroline Ansell has been pounding the streets signing up local people for her free slow-release water butt project to combat flooding in the town.

Caroline secured a first round of 100 of the butts from Southern Water and joined the Blue Heart Project’s Anna Hastings, Andrew Goswell and Toby Harper and Sarah Bunney from Our Rainwater to find willing participants.

They were in Seaside to speak to residents in Firle, Gilbert, Stanley and Whitley roads and Hunloke Avenue about taking a butt.

Doing so will allow rainwater to be captured and released slowly. Their use will cut the need to use storm overflows in times of heavy rainfall that can pollute the sea off the town.

A pilot scheme in the Isle of Wight saw the number of storm overflows used fall by 80%.

One of the first to sign up was Caroline Bowman from Gilbert Road.

She said: “It was easy to apply to this project and I am pleased it is going well. It is good for the community all round.

“Having the water butt in front of the house will also make it easier to water the corner flower plot in Seaside Rec which we look after.”

“I am really pleased Carol has signed up along with many others as this project is a practical way for local people to get involved in saving water and taking ultra local action to prevent flooding and storm overflow discharges during heavy rain,” said Caroline.

“In simple terms, the butts reduce runoff into drainage systems when we experience heavy rain by holding water until the sewer system can process and return it safely to the environment. With the rainfall we’ve seen these last days and weeks, it’s clear to see how important managing surface water is becoming.”

“There’s huge investment- a £7.8 billion pound business plan – going into Southern Water, and the Government has set water companies ambitious performance targets too but there is an opportunity for community action here that could see fast returns.

“We were really pleased with the take-up on the day and if we can roll butts out far and wide, it will make an important difference to our sea bathing quality, flood risk and water security.”

Caroline has arranged for the cost of scheme to be covered by Southern Water and residents in Eastbourne can register their interest in being part of this whole community project by going to https://ourrainwater.com/sign-up