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Stunning aerial views of Ipswich Waterfront reveal changes to tidal barrier defences

PUBLISHED: 12:42 04 August 2018 | UPDATED: 13:15 04 August 2018

Aerial shots of the Ipswich tidal barrier, summer 2018 Picture: ENVIRONMENT AGENCY

Aerial shots of the Ipswich tidal barrier, summer 2018 Picture: ENVIRONMENT AGENCY

Environment Agency

Work on the final stretch of Ipswich’s £70million tidal barrier scheme is underway and will be completed by the end of November.

Work at the beginning of the Ipswich tidal barrier scheme in April 2016 Picture: ENVIRONMENT AGENCYWork at the beginning of the Ipswich tidal barrier scheme in April 2016 Picture: ENVIRONMENT AGENCY

The project should protect more than 1,600 homes and 400 businesses in the Waterfront area of town.

Last autumn the 200-tonne tidal flood gate was delivered from the Netherlands and tested by the Environment Agency during the snowstorms in February.

Work on the Ipswich tidal barrier, summer 2018 - the west bank is the final portion to be completed Picture: ENVIRONMENT AGENCYWork on the Ipswich tidal barrier, summer 2018 - the west bank is the final portion to be completed Picture: ENVIRONMENT AGENCY

Now, work on the final section at the west bank is underway, which includes draining and sculpting an extension to the west bank and finishing off the area around the railway line into a public space.

Andrew Usborne, project manager, said: “It’s been good progress since March and we are just plugging steadily away at it.

Work on the Ipswich tidal barrier, summer 2018 Picture: ENVIRONMENT AGENCYWork on the Ipswich tidal barrier, summer 2018 Picture: ENVIRONMENT AGENCY

“Once we have the west bank [finished] the barrier should be operating later this year.

“The finish on site is the end of November and there will definitely be an operational flood defence by then.

Aerial shots of Ipswich tidal barrier and east Ipswich, summer 2018 Picture: ENVIRONMENT AGENCYAerial shots of Ipswich tidal barrier and east Ipswich, summer 2018 Picture: ENVIRONMENT AGENCY

“The whole project is key because a lot of Ipswich development has been on hold while we have been doing this.

“Once it is completed it should kickstart a lot of work in Ipswich. As part of the business case we are expecting 4,000 jobs to be created once the barrier has been completed.”

Diggers filling in the newly sculpted section of the west bank of the Ipswich tidal barrier defences, summer 2018 Picture: ENVIRONMENT AGENCYDiggers filling in the newly sculpted section of the west bank of the Ipswich tidal barrier defences, summer 2018 Picture: ENVIRONMENT AGENCY

Mr Usborne said much of the spotlight had been on the large tidal gate housed in the cofferdam, but the rest of the work was also key.

“If you didn’t have the western link and the barrier around you still have a gap in the flood defences, so it is vital,” he added.

Work progresses on the sculpting of the west bank of the Ipswich tidal barrier Picture: ENVIRONMENT AGENCYWork progresses on the sculpting of the west bank of the Ipswich tidal barrier Picture: ENVIRONMENT AGENCY

As it stands the project is expected to come in under budget.

Drone images released by the Environment Agency have shown how far around the tidal defences stretch, and how it has progressed since 2016 when work began.

Ipswich Waterfront at the beginning of the tidal barrier scheme in April 2016 Picture: ENVIRONMENT AGENCYIpswich Waterfront at the beginning of the tidal barrier scheme in April 2016 Picture: ENVIRONMENT AGENCY

Last month Ipswich Borough Council’s planning committee approved plans by Persimmon Homes to build 113 homes on derelict land by the west bank, after plans to develop housing there stalled a decade ago.

The former coalition government approved funding for the barrier several years ago after concerns were raised about flooding – including worries when a surge tide down the North Sea was seen in 2013.

The  Ipswich tidal barrier being installed Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNThe Ipswich tidal barrier being installed Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The barrier is also expected to reduce insurance premiums for homes and businesses in the Waterfront.

Aerial photos of a tidal barrier, September 2017 Picture: ENVIRONMENT AGENCYAerial photos of a tidal barrier, September 2017 Picture: ENVIRONMENT AGENCY

Work on the Ipswich tidal barrier, summer 2018 Picture: ENVIRONMENT AGENCYWork on the Ipswich tidal barrier, summer 2018 Picture: ENVIRONMENT AGENCY

Work on the Ipswich tidal barrier, summer 2018 - the final portion of the west bank takes shape Picture: ENVIRONMENT AGENCYWork on the Ipswich tidal barrier, summer 2018 - the final portion of the west bank takes shape Picture: ENVIRONMENT AGENCY

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