Lowestoft flood defence project secures £10m investment

Aerial image of Lowestoft showing the area at risk of tidal flooding. Image: New Anglia Local Enterp

Aerial image of Lowestoft showing the area at risk of tidal flooding. Image: New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership - Credit: Archant

A £32m Lowestoft flood defence project is a step closer to reality following the confirmation of £10m funding.

The Lowestoft Flood Risk Management Project (LFRMP) will protect homes and business in the Lowestoft Harbour and Lake Lothing and is predicted to be completed by September 2020.

New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has given final approval for a £10m contribution to LFRMP which will 'significantly reduce' the chances of future major flooding events.

Mark Pendlington, chairman of New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, said: 'This is a vital project with far reaching benefits. It will offer security to residents and businesses already living and trading in Lowestoft and unlock its vast potential for further economic growth.'

New Anglia LEP say wider benefits of the project will include the safeguarding of 10,900 jobs, unlocking 3,500 direct and 8,000 indirect new jobs and increasing the area's gross value added from £499m to £694m.

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The project consists of two main elements. Firstly, the construction of reinforced and extended flood walls on the north and south sides of the inner harbour which will be tied into high ground or existing defences. Secondly, a tidal gate for the inner harbour to be built in front of the Bascule Bridge.

Following the approval of a Final Business Case, work is expected to start in July 2018.

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Further funding will come from Anglian Water, the Regional Flood and Coastal Committee, Suffolk County Council, The Government's Flood and Coastal Risk Management Grant in Aid and Waveney District Council, who will manage the project.

Mark Bee, leader of Waveney District Council, said: 'We are very pleased that the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership board gave their approval for the £10m of funding to support the Lowestoft Flood Risk Management project.

'The tidal barrier and walls will not only protect many homes and businesses from flooding but will also give confidence to businesses to invest in Lowestoft, helping our local economy to grow and our town to thrive.'

Back in November 2016, £300,000 was spent on temporary flood defences for the town to help reduce the risk of tidal flooding while the main project progresses.

Recent Flooding in Lowestoft

A tidal surge in December 2013 flooded more than 150 homes and 230 commercial properties.

Key transportation links, including Lowestoft railway station and the A12, were closed. It was the most significant sea-surge generated flood event since 1953.

Further flooding occurred again in the town in 2015 and 2016, causing significant damage and disruption to the local community and economy.

The risk of tidal flooding in Lowestoft is currently considered to be between one in 10 and one in 20 in any given year according to figures from Waveney District Council. Completion of the LFRMP would reduce the probability to a minimum of one in 200.

A spokesman for New Anglial LEP said: 'With the East recently experiencing a June heatwave, it's hard to imagine the devastation caused by recent winter storm surges, but the memories of those affected in Lowestoft are all too real.'

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