Decision needed on A12 flood protection

A SCHEME to protect the A12 between Ipswich and Lowestoft from flooding will take an important step forward later this year when councillors decide what sort of work should be carried out.

Suffolk County Council has been granted �1.8m from the Department of Transport to reduce the risk of flooding on the road at Blythburgh amid fears that leaving the road vulnerable to flooding could cripple the economy in the Waveney area.

Now the council has to decide whether to use the money to raise the height of the whole stretch of road by about one metre or to push for a wider-reaching solution including a sluice at Blythburgh to manage water levels on the marshes next to the road.

Guy McGregor, the council’s portfolio holder for roads and transport, met local councillors, Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey and Waveney MP Peter Aldous in Southwold on Thursday to discuss the options.

Mr McGregor said: “We have been looking at a more holistic approach and how we might might help to control the issue of flooding in the wider estuary. That option is to put a sluice at the Blythburgh crossing to create a water management system. However what we have to consider now is that inserting a sluice would have an effect on the character of the marshland to the west of the A12, which is protected by various national and European conservation rulings.

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“We would need to apply to Natural England for permission, which we might not get, and that would cost more taxpayers’ money and take longer than the original idea to raise the road, so that is our dilemma.

“I have to come to a conclusion fairly soon as to the best option for the county council to persue and I will meet my officers next week to discuss the report from the meeting. The response so far seems to be mixed, but that is what one would expect and making difficult decisions is part of my role as an elected representative.”

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He added: “This is the main artery between Lowestoft and Ipswich, it is vital for the prosperity of Waveney.”

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