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New Ipswich tidal barrier will protect town from flooding for 100 years

PUBLISHED: 18:31 08 February 2019 | UPDATED: 18:31 08 February 2019

An aerial view of the new Ipswich tidal barrier Picture: ENVIRONMENT AGENCY

An aerial view of the new Ipswich tidal barrier Picture: ENVIRONMENT AGENCY

Archant

More than 1,600 homes and 400 businesses have better protection from flooding after the successful completion of a new £67.4million tidal flood barrier for Ipswich.

The Environment Agency project, which will future-proof the county town from flooding from the River Orwell and the impacts of climate change over the next century, was yesterday officially opened by Floods Minister Dr Thérèse Coffey.

Centrepiece of the new defence is a 200-tonne rotating barrier which can be raised in minutes, helping to keep the town safe from tidal surges during storms.

The floodgate has a design similar to that of the Thames Barrier and is so large that it is coated with six tonnes of protective paint. The floodgate rotates upwards out of the sea floor into the closed position, holding back dangerous tidal surges that could flood the town.

The defence also includes 1,100 metres of new and refurbished flood walls and a series of floodgates on the banks of the River Orwell.

Floods minister Therese Coffey unveils a plaque to mark the completion of the Ipswich tidal barrier Picture: ENVIRONMENT AGENCYFloods minister Therese Coffey unveils a plaque to mark the completion of the Ipswich tidal barrier Picture: ENVIRONMENT AGENCY

It is also a major step forwards for the borough council’s Core Development Strategy for Ipswich and will release land for development helping to create an estimated 4,000 jobs.

Dr Coffey said: “This important new flood scheme, which has received nearly £55m of government funding, over 80% of the total cost, will better protect over 1,600 homes in Ipswich from tidal flooding over the next 100 years.

“The scheme will also secure the future of hundreds of local businesses whilst creating 4,000 jobs to boost the town’s economy.

“I am delighted the Government is investing so significantly in the county town of Suffolk and its future prosperity.”

Environment Agency chairman Emma Howard Boyd, left, and Floods Minister Thérèse Coffey at the opening of the new Ipswich Tidal Barrier Picture: ENVIRONMENT AGENCYEnvironment Agency chairman Emma Howard Boyd, left, and Floods Minister Thérèse Coffey at the opening of the new Ipswich Tidal Barrier Picture: ENVIRONMENT AGENCY

Environment Agency chairman Emma Howard Boyd said: “Climate change means increasing storms and rising sea levels all over the world. This flood scheme will help people and businesses prosper in a more resilient Ipswich over the course of the next century.”

Ipswich Borough Council leader David Ellesmere said: “It is good to see this major Ipswich project completed. The money Ipswich Borough Council provided towards this project was a significant investment by the council. I’m glad to see this very impressive piece of engineering is now doing its job of providing peace of mind for residents and businesses in Ipswich.”

The new defences will 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 existing defences.

The government’s most recent climate change projections predict that sea levels could rise by up to 1.15 metres, increasing the risk of tidal surges affecting those living on the coast.

The opening event was attended by a number of representatives from project partners, including Ipswich Borough Council who helped to fund the scheme, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, the Haven Gateway Partnership, and the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership.

The flood defence scheme has been a partnership funded by the Environment Agency (£54.6 million), Ipswich Borough Council through the Haven Gateway Partnership (£3.4 million) and the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (£6.6 million), the Regional Flood and Coastal Committee (£1.7 million) and UK Power Networks (£1.1 million).

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