Plans to refurbish the floodgates in King’s Lynn have been given the go-ahead after more cash was added to the pot following the recent floods.

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The £1m project is one of 42 flood schemes which the Environment Agency confirmed would happen next year, with work in the west Norfolk town set to start in April.

The plan will see 67 floodgates and dam boards refurbished in a move the body says will protect 447 properties.

Julie Foley, area manager for the Environment Agency, announced the work on replacing the structures would take place in mid-January, but the high-level confirmation that there was money available for the project is a relief as flooding clear-up and repair costs grow as storms continue to batter the West Country.

Communities secretary Eric Pickles, who updated the House of Commons after environment secretary Owen Paterson was forced to drop out for urgent eye surgery, announced an extra £130m had been made available by the government to help secure and maintain flood defences before next winter hits.

During the Commons debate Henry Bellingham called on Mr Pickles to look at Beach Road, Brancaster where defences have not been repaired.

Mr Pickles said: “I certainly will. We tried to use that period to get a lot of emergency work done, but I suspect it might not have been possible or safe to have looked at those defences then.

“I will remind the Environment Agency, which I am sure will be round as soon as possible.”

Prospect, the union representing specialists in the Environment Agency, said the announcement by Mr Pickles was a rehash of a statement made in 2013.

Deputy general secretary Leslie Manasseh said: “There is no additional money for flood defences, works programmes will be cut and 1,500 staff will still be made redundant by October 2014.

“The plan to protect 465,000 homes by the end of the decade was reported last November. Meanwhile the people who are working day and night to prevent flooding – our members in the Environment Agency – will see their revenue budgets cut from £275m in 2010 to £226m in 2014-15.

“Who will maintain these defences if the agency’s revenue budgets are cut? Flood prevention through a well-resourced EA is better than a one-off temporary solution that cannot be adequately maintained.”

Floods minister Dan Rogerson said: “Our flood defences have been seriously tested over the past two months which is why we are investing in repairs to ensure these crucial defences can withstand future storms.”

What do you think the Environment Agency should do about flood defences in this region? Write (giving your full contact details) to: The Letters Editor, EDP, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email EDPLetters@archant.co.uk

5 comments

  • As for removing the silt to free up Denver Sluice and dredging the River Ouse, much of the silt is toxic, we know from an EA FOI email it contains dioxins, so the cost to dispose of it properly would be prohibitive. Blind eyes are being turned as to where this toxicity is coming from, or what damage it is doing to the Wash and other habitats, let alone the people.

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    Honest John

    Friday, February 7, 2014

  • Good news that the flood gates are being replaced to ensure the safety of King's Lynn residents and businesses but it seems an awful waste of money to replace gates that stood the test, despite almost over-topping, yet not raise the height! As sea levels are set to rise in the future, it makes no sense to replace them with 'like' and not take advantage of the opportunity to raise them. With the Denver Sluice currently out of action, silt build up in the River Great Ouse will contribute to even higher tides so hopefully some of that £1m will be spent getting the sluice back in action too.

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    Sandy.L

    Friday, February 7, 2014

  • too little too late . The norfolk coastline will soon look like sandbag city

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    milecross

    Friday, February 7, 2014

  • The decision to replace the gates was made before the flood, the reason they are not being made higher is the rest of the defences would also have to be raised accordingly. The EA claim the current defences held the test has been made without taking into effect that King’s Lynn was spared serious flooding only due to the wind dropping 2 hours before high tide. Talk is cheap, a bit like people’s lives and property

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    Honest John

    Friday, February 7, 2014

  • one of the top ten developed nations in the world using thousands of sandbgs as flood defences . What a joke

    Report this comment

    milecross

    Friday, February 7, 2014

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