Flood fears could scupper reedbed plans

PLANS to create a new reedbed to replace habitats lost to the sea could be rejected due to fears that nearby homes will be flooded.

Richard Smith

PLANS to create a new reedbed to replace habitats lost to the sea could be rejected due to fears that nearby homes will be flooded.

The scheme unveiled by the RSPB to flood land at Snape, near Aldeburgh, and create a wet reedbed now hinges on worries over flooding.

Suffolk Coastal District Council revealed yesterday that planning officers had concerns over flooding and they are asking councillors to reject the plans if the flood risk is not resolved.

However, consulting engineers acting on behalf of the Environment Agency have produced a Flood Risk Assessment in which they state “it is not anticipated that the proposed construction and operation of the habitat creation scheme will have any significant adverse environmental impacts”.

They added that flooding from surface or ground water or sewers was not an issue in respect of the site on land west of Abbey Farm, Bridge Road.

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But objectors have expressed serious concerns that adjoining land and homes could be flooded when the water levels of the River Fromus are raised to create the new reedbed.

They claim the flood plain will be reduced and that an increased water level could affect private foul drainage installations.

The RSPB wants a new reedbed to safeguard bitterns whose existing habitats are threatened by rising sea levels. The organisation has warned that Suffolk bitterns are crucial to the success of the entire UK population.

In a report before Suffolk Coastal's development control sub-committee on April 2, a planning officer says: “The key issue in this case is whether or not the proposals to increase water levels in the River Fromus will result in an increased risk of flooding of adjoining land and property.

“The applicants have produced a Flood Risk Assessment to demonstrate that this will not be a major problem. However, several nearby land and property owners have queried the findings of the Flood Risk Assessment and do not believe that the application proposals will not lead to a serious increased flood risk.

“The opportunities for creating replacement reedbed habitats in the Suffolk Coastal district are very limited.

“Such habitats are also important components of the Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB and the wildlife species that they support are a key visitor attraction.

“The potential increase in flood risk to nearby land and property is a significant material planning consideration that needs to be properly addressed.

“Local residents and land owners believe that the increased flood risk will be significant.”

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