New tidal barrier in Ipswich protecting 2,000 properties

The £67 million Ipswich Tidal Barrier

The £67million Ipswich Tidal Barrier will protect 1,600 homes and 400 businesses from flooding - Credit: Charlotte Bond

Thousands of homes and businesses in Ipswich are now better protected from floods after a new multi-million pound tidal barrier became fully operational.

The £67million project is one of the most significant defences the Environment Agency has constructed in recent years, protecting 1,600 homes and 400 businesses from flooding and the impacts of climate change over the course of the next century.

Ipswich Tidal Barrier

The barrier was installed in 2017. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

The new flood defences' centrepiece is a 200-tonne rotating barrier which can be raised in minutes, helping to keep the town safe from tidal surges during storms.

The work also includes several hundred metres of raised banks around the Waterfront and River Orwell, as well as a control room to monitor the threat to the town.

Ipswich Control Centre

The control centre for the tidal barrier in Ipswich. - Credit: Environment Agency

The scheme will better protect homes and businesses in Ipswich over the next 100 years and provide a much higher level of protection from the type of tidal surge which threatened the town in 2007 and 2013 - both of which were close to spilling over the previous defences.

The delivery of the nation’s new defences, which has continued through lockdown with Covid-secure working arrangements, will not only help to save the economy more than £28billion in avoided damages over the flood defences' lifetime but also provide reassurance and peace of mind for communities. 

The successful delivery of the programme comes ahead of the start of the record £5.2bn investment in 2,000 new flood and coastal defences between 2021 and 2027.

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In the East of England, more than £255m has been invested to better protect 12,000 homes and businesses.

In addition to the Ipswich Barrier, significant projects the programme contributed to in the region include the £36m Clacton and Holland-on-Sea coast protection scheme, stretching 5km and projecting over 3,000 homes and businesses for the next 100 years. 

Paul Hayden, chairman of the Anglian Regional Flood and Coastal Committee, said: “Delivering the target of 300,000 homes better protected from flooding is a fantastic achievement for the country.

"I am so pleased that in Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex we were able to contribute to this through delivery of numerous projects. 

“These schemes have not only reduced risk of flood and erosion for our most vulnerable communities, but are helping to protect the environment and make a significant contribution to regeneration in the region."

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