Flood defence concerns eased

IPSWICH'S flood defence concerns have been allayed by the unveiling of a £50m scheme to protect the town from a tidal surge.The project will include the construction of a £30m barrier across the River Orwell at the New Cut and aims to protect 2,300 homes from flooding.

IPSWICH'S flood defence concerns have been allayed by the unveiling of a £50m scheme to protect the town from a tidal surge.

The project will include the construction of a £30m barrier across the River Orwell at the New Cut and aims to protect 2,300 homes from flooding.

The tidal barrier is due to be in place by 2012, with work to install new lock gates close to the Waterfront, which will replace a set of smaller gates in anticipation of rising sea levels, to begin on Sunday. The area lies on a flood plain and has seen construction of hundreds of apartments and flats over the last several years.

The joint venture between Ipswich Council and the Environment Agency, which will also see river banks raised along the Waterfront near Bath Street and at the entrance to the town's wet dock, was presented at Ipswich Town Hall yesterday . Members of the public were able to visit an exhibition detailing the flood scheme proposal.


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Ipswich MP Chris Mole said: “The importance of strengthening Ipswich's flood protection will act as a catalyst for renewal of the Waterfront area and allow the potential to enable future development in Ipswich.”

Paul West, Ipswich Council's Transport spokesman said: “We welcome the agency's decision to bring forward the project. Ipswich has in the past suffered from several floods and though it hasn't happened for some time, we have to protect the town from future flooding.

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“I am aware that some people living in Wherstead Road are concerned about flooding, so it is important with the climate issue that we work full steam ahead to complete the project.”

A report prepared for the borough council last year stressed the importance of the project and predicted that by 2067 tidal flooding could occur many times a year without defences in parts of the Waterfront and Ipswich Village areas.

Experts believe the precautionary measures will dramatically reduce the chances of flooding in the town in one of the largest projects put into operation by the Environment Agency.

Jim Anderson, project manager for the Environment Agency, said: “We're trying to make the public more aware of the flood defences we want to build in Ipswich.

“We want to protect what is already there and provide the opportunity for the council and other partners to come along and develop the town further.”

Is the £50 million flood scheme money well spent? Write to Your Letters Evening Star 30 Lower Brook Street Ipswich IP4 1AN or e mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

Strengthening Ipswich's Flood Defences, a timeline:

Replacement of wet dock flood gates: The existing gates were in poor condition and needed to be raised to the flood defence height. The new gates are due to be installed this Sunday.

East and west bank works: These works, valued at £5m will tie the barrier into high ground. Construction is planned for late summer 2009.

Tidal surge barrier: The barrier in the mouth of the New Cut will be the centre piece of the project. The gate is likely to be a radial gate, similar to those in the Thames Barrier. Construction is due to begin in late 2010 once a Transport and Works Act Order has been granted.

Wherstead Road flood alleviation scheme: Proposals will be presented in the spring of 2009 to the residents of Wherstead Road and work is set to begin in late 2010 or early 2011.

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