Flood protection hopes rise

HOPES for a £71million flood barrier to protect Ipswich received a boost following calls for immediate action across the UK prevent a repeat disaster of the summer floods.

HOPES for a £71million flood barrier to protect Ipswich received a boost following calls for immediate action across the UK prevent a repeat disaster of the summer floods.

The man charged with reviewing the floods for the government, Sir Michael Pitt, said flooding should have the same priority as terrorism or flu prevention.

The call comes in the same month The Evening Star revealed that low-lying areas of Ipswich's waterfront will be classed “unsafe” if a £71million flood defence system is not built.

Leader of Ipswich Council Liz Harsant said Sir Michael's comments would assist the borough council in seeking essential funding for the project.


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She said: “I think this has got to help.

“I honestly don't think they can afford to see flooding across the country like there has been this year which is why I am optimistic for Ipswich.”

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In the interim report the summer floods were described as a “wake-up call”.

Sir Michael said: “Despite the impressive efforts of emergency responders, much work needs to be done to avoid emergencies of the scale we witnessed this summer happening again.

“The country was fortunate that the impact was not much more severe.”

The message is similar to one given in a stark report about the prospects of flooding in Ipswich unless new defences are constructed.

Plans for a 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.

However there is currently no funding in place for the vital work.

A report prepared for 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.

In as few as eight years the lowest areas of the Waterfront will be considered “unsafe” if decent defences are not in place.

The proposed barrier would protect 2,500 properties in the area as well as a further 3,000 that are yet to be built.

Politicians in the town are currently trying to secure funding from various organisations including the Environment Agency and the Haven Gateway Partnership.

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