Flood defence scheme could be delayed

THE Environment Agency is advising villagers that a planned flood defence scheme could be delayed for at least two years because it is not a top priority.

THE Environment Agency is advising villagers that a planned flood defence scheme could be delayed for at least two years because it is not a top priority.

The Agency has been undertaking consultations in Waldringfield, near Woodbridge, to improve protection for householders and it had originally hoped to start work on building better flood defences next spring.

But the Agency has now put back the scheme until 2006 at the earliest while it undertakes an 18-month study of the whole of the Deben estuary from Felixstowe to Wilford Bridge.

The estimated cost of the scheme is hundreds of thousands of pounds but Nigel Pask, project manager, said it could reach £1million by the time work started.


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He said they had taken into account consultations with villagers in Waldringfield and they had a two-pronged approach to improving the flood defence.

Mr Pask said the Agency wanted to build a timber-clad piled steel sheet wall on top of the existing bank in front of the boatyard and the neighbouring properties which overlook the River Deben. It also proposed to build a new earth embankment further north and set back from the existing bank to protect other homes.

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He said people were concerned about the possibility that the existing earth embankment, where the footpath was a ''highly prized asset'', would be breached. A decision would be taken when the overall estuarine strategy had been completed.

''A rigorous process has been undertaken to select the preferred option. We received more than eight responses to the initial consultation which provided valuable local information,'' said Mr Pask.

The last major flood was 50 years ago but some properties in Waldringfield are at risk of flooding when water flows over the top of the earth embankment during high surge tides. This flood defence is deteriorating and the Agency has warned that the risk of flooding would increase in the future due to sea level rises.

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