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£3million boost for project to save Suffolk estuary from devastating floods

PUBLISHED: 16:00 24 February 2019

The Alde and Ore estuary stretching from Snape Maltings to the sea Picture: MIKE PAGE

The Alde and Ore estuary stretching from Snape Maltings to the sea Picture: MIKE PAGE

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A project to protect a spectacular but threatened Suffolk landscape has been given a £3million boost.

Supporters of the Alde and Ore estuary project - left to right: Richard Davey, Jane Maxim, Edward Greenwell and Lord Deben.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNSupporters of the Alde and Ore estuary project - left to right: Richard Davey, Jane Maxim, Edward Greenwell and Lord Deben. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Experts reckon that around £12million could be needed for work to strengthen river defences in the low-lying Alde and Ore estuary in the years ahead to prevent flooding of the precious and beautiful working landscape.

Local campaigners set out to raise £5m towards the total and reached a £1m towards their target last month thanks to enormous fundraising efforts, pledges from landowners and farmers and supporters, and a grant from a family-founded trust worth £400,000.

Now landowners and farmers in the estuary have raised a £3 million fund through the East Suffolk Internal Drainage Board (IDB) towards the upgrading work identified in the Alde and Ore Estuary plan.

Sir Edward Greenwell, chairman of the Alde and Ore Estuary Partnership (AOEP), said: “Landowners have made a substantial contribution to support the fund-raising efforts for this important project.

“Our aims are to improve flood protection for all the local residents, businesses and the environment – not just farming – so we have greater certainty about flood risk over the next few decades.

“For the next 28 years, landowners will be paying £115,000 per year, a clear long term commitment to the importance of this project.”

The East Suffolk Internal Drainage Board’s role is to manage water levels for the internationally and national important habitats for which the Suffolk estuaries are famed for attracting millions of visitors – important for the environment and local economy.

The board also manages water levels to ensure the agricultural economy can function in very wet and very dry conditions, important for the food security, the local economy, jobs and growth.

Money already raised by landowners will be spent on the flood defence works across the whole estuary. These funds will also act as match-funding, enabling the IDB to apply for central government funds and support the Estuary Trust in accessing funding from a wider range of sources.

Professor Jane Maxim, chairman of the funding group and trustee of The Alde & Ore Estuary Trust said: “The Trust would very much like to thank local landowners for the contribution they have already made and their pledges of further financial support.”

People can find out more about The Alde & Ore Estuary project The Alde & Ore Estuary Partnership at a public drop-in session on Wednesday, February 27 from 2pm – 8pm at Snape Maltings Trask Café.

A presentation will be given at 6pm in the Recital Room to update everyone on the cost of upgrading the estuary walls, projected income, both local fundraising and Environment Agency / Government contributions and the proposed programme of works.

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