High tides flood warning

FELIXSTOWE'S makeshift sea defences will face their biggest test yet next month when the highest predicted tides for 20 years are set to hit the east coast.

FELIXSTOWE'S makeshift sea defences will face their biggest test yet next month when the highest predicted tides for 20 years are set to hit the east coast.

Engineers have already warned the thousands of tons of rock put in place to protect the prom after beaches dropped dramatically is only a “sticking plaster” and will not last the winter, and £6 million of permanent work is needed.

Now they will be waiting to see if the rocks withstand autumn's high tides, which the Environment Agency says are due on September 10, and again in October.

A spokeswoman for the agency said roadshows were being held along the Norfolk coast, where the tide could be a metre higher than on the east and south-east facing Suffolk coast, to advise people of emergency procedures to deal with the exceptionally high tides amid fears there could be flooding.

The roadshows were an annual event targeted at caravan owners around Hunstanton, Heacham and Snettisham where low-lying holiday parks could be vulnerable and householders might have to be evacuated.

Suffolk Coastal deputy leader Andy Smith said people in Felixstowe should not be seriously concerned by the predictions.

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“It's extremely unlikely that these slightly higher tides would coincide with a severe surge - all of those serious events have occurred in the period January to March,” he said.

“But despite that, of course we remain concerned in the slightly longer term to get the defences in place in Felixstowe against the really severe events, which are always a possibility at almost any time, although most likely by far in that January to March period.

“We are currently working out what more needs to be done on the temporary work to get us through the next winter, or possibly two, with safety, in case we still cannot get the funds from Defra for the main scheme.

“And crucially, we'll be monitoring the situation very closely, daily in times of bad weather, to ensure that there is neither a gradual deterioration in the defences, or indeed to quickly repair any damage that might be caused by storms.”

WEBLINK: www.environment-agency.gov.uk

www.pol.ac.uk/ntslf/tides

Are you worried about 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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