Photo galleries: King’s Lynn’s flood defences set to be replaced after December storm surge that devastated the Norfolk coast

The Custom House surrounded by water during the December 5 storm. Picture: Matthew Usher. The Custom House surrounded by water during the December 5 storm. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Saturday, January 18, 2014
1:27 PM

Flood gates around King’s Lynn’s historic quays will be replaced as part of a £1.2m refurbishment of the town’s defences.

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MP Henry Bellingham (2nd left) visits the flood damaged on Snettisham Beach. With him from left, is EA area manager Julie Foley, parish council chairman Eric Langford and EA project manager for repair work Ryan Ely. Picture: Matthew Usher.MP Henry Bellingham (2nd left) visits the flood damaged on Snettisham Beach. With him from left, is EA area manager Julie Foley, parish council chairman Eric Langford and EA project manager for repair work Ryan Ely. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Waters came within inches of overwhelming gates around the Outer Purfleet during the December storm surge.

Today Julie Foley, area manager for the Environment Agency, said work on replacing the structures would begin in April.

“The flood gates are over 30 years old and they need replacing,” she said. “They’ve never been tested in this way before.

“The flood gates did well to withstand this significant event, but it’s clear that significant investment is needed. We need a new set of gates.”

• Click here for more stories on the Norfolk floods

Environment Agency officials revealed the move as they showed North West Norfolk MP Henry Bellingham and parish councillors work which has been carried out since the December 5 storm.

Parts of the shingle bank, which protects 3,000 caravans, had been reduced to around a quarter of its width by the highest tide for 60 years.

“We imported 1,000 tonnes of carr stone rock armour from a local quarry to replace what was lost,” said EA project manager Ryan Ely. “We used 9,200 tonnes of sand and shingle from Snettisham Scalp and that meant we were able to reinstate the ridge to 75pc of its planned width.”

A tide mark showing how high the waters rose in December was clearly visible on the side of one property on the seaward side of the bank. Engineers hope the work will enable the defences to withstand the next set of high tides, which are expected around February 1.

North West Norfolk MP Henry Bellingham said: “We can’t be too complacent, there’s got to be future investment, we’ve got to repair the damage that’s been done.”

Officials expect the work at Snettisham to cost around £100,000. The figure does not include repairing damaged hides and habitats on the nearby RSPB reserve.

11 comments

  • Finally, the EA admit that there is a flooding problem around King’s Lynn where flood gates need replacing. Is this also an acknowledgement that tides are likely to be higher in the future and if so, why have they given a permit for an incinerator to be built on a category 3 flood plain just a few hundred metres along the waterfront? I have been trying to ascertain from them how many other incinerators have been built on a category 3 flood plain. Unfortunately, no-one at the EA seems to know the answer because I keep getting passed to different departments all the time and am receiving all sorts of information that I haven’t requested – but no answer to my simple question! Anyone else know the answer to this one please?

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    Sandy.L

    Friday, January 17, 2014

  • As for the RSPB , they have acted in a thoroughly irresponsible way in the last few decades, with project after project to create fresh water habitats in a coastal environment which is naturally prone to inundation. Deliberately creating such habitats and luring fresh water birds and animals to them in order to increase the spot list and thus attracting more paying bums on hide seats is a disgrace. To have the temerity to appeal for funding to reinstate what they have created artificially takes the biscuit. Since farmers out in the Fens and other areas which need artificial drainage pay stonking drainage rates to Internal drainage boards and indirectly to the Environment Agency there seems a good case for those who own businesses like caravan parks which benefit from sea wall protection where there might other wise be natural retreat of the coastline, to have to stump up for some of that.

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    Daisy Roots

    Sunday, January 19, 2014

  • Perhaps they just think it is a pointless question!

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    Norfolk John

    Friday, January 17, 2014

  • All this damage will be patched up with sticky plaster. Why can't the PM demand socially responsible action from our insurance giants and build a wash barrier with a lock system and tidal enegery scheme? Flooding would never occure again in the next 150 years and the Fenlands would be safeguarded from storm surges, no taxes used or precepts gone up. The investors get their money back from electricity sales, simples. The RSPB and other conservation bodies must decide whether they include humans in their ecological mindset, it will not stop the birds from coming, the water will still flow and ebb, only slightly less saline than before.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Monday, January 20, 2014

  • Why aren't they increasing the height of the flood defences if they are replacing them? It was a close shave for the whole town on 5th but obviously the EA don't think it will ever happen again Doh!!

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    Sandy.L

    Wednesday, January 22, 2014

  • Don't forget Denver Sluice was damaged as well. They have put into place temporary repairs but how will they stand up in the event of another tidal surge especially if the wind is pushing the sea inland rather than towards Europe.

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    Canary Boy

    Sunday, January 19, 2014

  • The EA suggested before their jobs cuts announcement, there would be no chance of flooding at Kings Lynn for at least 200 years!

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    Interpol

    Saturday, January 18, 2014

  • Why the hysteria? It does not wash, these anti incinerator Nimbys making a case that does not exist. The replacement of these defences which did well and stood up to a surge tide higher than 1953, would probably have happened as a matter of routine on a timescale , recent surge tide or not. And just because Saddlebow is categorised as a particular grade of flood plain does not make it unsuitable for factories and installations if properly designed. Refer to the 1953 floods, which put a bit of water on Hardwick Narrows, but nothing spectacular-the beet factory and the muck works were there then dont forget. It could be pointed out that none of the protesting voices were raised when the new homes were built not a few hundred yards from where there was at least one fatality in the old water in 1953 in South Lynn. However the river banks are much raised since then and sluices and pumping systems improved and redesigned. All in all the EDP reporting of the floods has verged on the deliberately ill informed and sensationalist-what we have come to expect from the current regime.

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    Daisy Roots

    Sunday, January 19, 2014

  • how about replacing the flood boards in hunstanton with floodgates and raising the wall higher

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    mickthedig

    Friday, January 17, 2014

  • The EA wouldn't spend millions replacing the gates if there wasn't a genuine need. Fact is those gates came within a couple of inches of being breached and had the wind not dropped before high tide, water would have gone over the top. They are no longer up to the job with rising sea levels.

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    Bikerboy

    Sunday, January 19, 2014

  • Oh. And there was I thinking that Kings Lynn and its immediate surrounds had a special dispensation from the Almighty and was never to suffer from floods. Or that is what the lovers of incinerators would have us believe. This article is therefore confusing.

    Report this comment

    alecto

    Saturday, January 18, 2014

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