�2million scheme to raise A12

A vital scheme to protect the main road between Lowestoft and Ipswich from flooding got the go-ahead yesterday after the Government stumped up nearly �2m in funding.

A vital scheme to protect the main road between Lowestoft and Ipswich from flooding got the go-ahead yesterday after the Government stumped up nearly �2m in funding.

Work to raise the height of the A12 at Blythburgh, near Southwold, is now expected to start within months after a concerted campaign in north Suffolk achieved its goal.

There were fears the planned abandonment of flood defences along the nearby Blyth Estuary would leave the road vulnerable to flooding 12 times a year, crippling the local economy in the Waveney area.

Suffolk County Council made a bid for special funding from the Department of Transport and Waveney MP Bob Blizzard hosted a visit to the area by transport minister Paul Clark at the end of last year as the campaign gathered momentum.


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Guy McGregor, the county council's portfolio holder for roads and transport, said last night: “The scheme to raise the road will prevent flooding and disruption to travel on the A12. It is an important road, which we are always trying to improve.

“We weren't really prepared to take the money out of our budget, which is why we made this application for funding. Our very powerful plea has been accepted.”

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The �1.85m project will see the A12 at Blythburgh, which already suffers from flooding problems, raised by about a metre. It is expected the work will get under way during the next financial year.

Mr Blizzard said: “This work will protect Lowestoft's main link to the rest of the country. I'm delighted that, having invited the minister up, we have managed to convince him.

“I drove him to Blythburgh so he could see for himself how vulnerable it is. I'm glad he recognised the importance to the local area and has approved this project so that we can ensure Lowestoft isn't isolated by flooding.

“We've seen this week how much the country can be paralysed by heavy weather. These improvements will make sure that Suffolk can carry on as normal.”

In the autumn of 2007, the Environment Agency announced plans to stop maintaining flood defences in the Blyth Estuary over the next two decades after revealing it did not have the estimated �35m for repairs and maintenance.

Mr Blizzard added: “We can expect the estuary to suffer flooding problems in the future, but now the road itself will not be affected. That is excellent news.”

Homes and thousands of acres of land in the South-wold, Walberswick, Reydon and Blythburgh area will also be threatened by the abandon-ment of the flood defences.

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