Town set for £45m flood defences boost
FUNDING worth £45million has been approved for a major project to boost Ipswich's flood defences, it has been revealed.The Environment Agency has been carrying out a detailed risk assessment in the town and has now been given the green light by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to go ahead with huge protection works.
By Danielle Nuttall
FUNDING worth £45million has been approved for a major project to boost Ipswich's flood defences, it has been revealed.
The Environment Agency has been carrying out a detailed risk assessment in the town and has now been given the green light by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to go ahead with huge protection works.
The project will see a barrier created across the area known as New Cut, near to Felaw Maltings, to ensure there are no flooding problems in the Waterfront or Ipswich Village area.
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It means the Environment Agency will be able to safeguard the town from a one in 300-year extreme weather event or tidal surge rather than the current one in 50 or one in 100-year protection.
The project is one of the largest possible and is rarely put forward for approval by the Environment Agency. It will include improvement work to all of the town's current flood defences.
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Jim Anderson, project manager for the Environment Agency, said: “The agency has been developing a flood risk management strategy for Ipswich for the last 18 months and that strategy highlighted the problems with existing defences in Ipswich, which are getting to the end of their useful life, and that the standard of protection provided by the defences could be improved upon.
“With those two things in mind and also with the problems of global warming and increasing sea levels, there is a strong case to improve the defences in Ipswich.
“Our flood risk management strategy centres on protecting Ipswich by constructing a surge tide barrier in the lower part of the Orwell at New Cut. The exact position we still have to determine.
“The structure will have two gates approximately 20metres in width. There will be flood walls connecting the barrier to higher ground. Everything upstream will be protected against a flood from a surged tide which is the principal threat for the town.
“We will also be doing some works to existing defences in the town to improve them slightly as there is still some threat of fluvial flooding, which is the flow of water that comes down the river.
“It's fairly rare within the agency to ask for such a large approval.”
Improvement work on the current flood defences is expected to take place within the next 12 months while the new barrier is set to be in place by 2012.
Mr Anderson said the cost of the work was likely to be lower than £45million because this figure included contingency funds.