Proposals for future of Alde and Ore estuary win approval

The Alde and Ore estuary with Snape in the foreground.

The Alde and Ore estuary with Snape in the foreground. - Credit: Archant

A new strategic plan to protect one of Suffolk’s most beautiful but vulnerable areas from flooding has successfully crossed its first major hurdle.

The Alde and Ore Estuary Plan sets out innovative approaches for the future management of the area – including the possibility of up to 140 homes being built on “exception sites” to raise up to £10million needed to help pay for work to increase the height of river walls.

Members of Suffolk County Council’s cabinet, meeting in Bury St Edmunds, voted unanimously to endorse the proposals for the strategic management of the flood defences in the estuary.

Mathew Hicks, cabinet member for environment and public protection, presented the plan and said: “I recommend to cabinet the endorsement of this plan and once again congratulate the Alde and Ore Estuary Partnership on its development.”

The preferred management for the river walls is a “resilience” approach, to ensure defences can resist breaching even if overtopped, avoiding catastrophic flooding to low-lying homes and farmland seen in 1953 and more recently in 2013.

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Pumps and sluices will remove water quickly, which is considerably less expensive than the cost of repairing numerous breaches. Government funding is now limited for rural areas and extensive public consultation found the local community fully behind the efforts to raise substantial funds to cover the gap between flood defence grants and the cost of the required upgrading of the defences.

Some £7m to £10m will be required over the coming years to improve the river walls – some coming from Government funding, some from enabling development, and the remainder from appeals, donations and applications to charities and statutory sources.

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Sir Edward Greenwell, chairman of the Alde and Ore Partnership, said: “This is the first step to endorsement by all the statutory bodies and a great boost to all those who have worked so hard over the last few years ensuring the preservation of the Alde and Ore estuary as we know it.”

The estuary plan will be considered by the Suffolk Coastal Forum on April 12, the Environment Agency’s regional flood and coastal committee on April 15 and Suffolk Coastal District Council on the May 3, which will give the final endorsement.

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