Flood barrier hopes rising

HOPES a £71million flood barrier to protect Ipswich from devastating floods will be built were boosted today after it emerged project chiefs are confident funding will be secured.

HOPES a £71million flood barrier to protect Ipswich from devastating floods will be built were boosted today after it emerged project chiefs are confident funding will be secured.

A decision was expected to be made by the Environment Agency last month on whether the necessary cash would be earmarked for the scheme.

However this was delayed while the Environment Agency waited for confirmation of how much money it will receive from central government for the forthcoming financial year.

Nick Rowlinson, Environment Agency project manager for the Ipswich barrier project, said the organisation has now been promised as much money as was expected, boosting chances the barrier will get the green light.


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He said: “The Environment Agency decides on schemes on a national priority basis using a priority scoring system.

“Each project scores points and they fund all projects that score above a certain level.

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“In the current financial year the barrier scheme didn't reach the required total.

“With the additional funding made available for flood risk, that threshold is forecast to fall and we are quietly optimistic that means will now be above that threshold.”

The Environment Agency's board is due to meet on Friday to decide on which projects are funded for the coming financial year beginning in April.

As revealed in The Evening Star in December, a brand new flood defence system is needed in Ipswich or the lowest areas of the Waterfront will become “unsafe” in as few as eight years.

The initial cost of constructing a barrier would approach the £35million mark, with the project forecasted to cost in excess of £70million over a 100-year period.

Plans for a new barrier, which would be built across the New Cut near Felaw Maltings, have been in the pipeline for a number of years and aim to protect the Waterfront and Ipswich village areas from tidal surges.

A report that went before Ipswich Borough Council's executive committee stressed the importance of going ahead with the project, claiming there could be tragic effects if nothing is done.

Should funding be secured, contractors could be on site within 18 months to two years.

Are you concerned by the risk of flooding? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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