Sluice could tackle flooding on A12

Plans to stop flooding at a problem spot on the A12 between Lowestoft and Ipswich could be allieviated with a new sluice.

Suffolk County Council is looking to tackle flooding on the main road at Blythburgh, where the road meets the River Blyth, and is proposing to install a sluice to manage tidal flow in the area from 2012.

The road is liable to flooding during heavy rainfall, with the Environment Agency previously announcing it could not maintain defences along the Blyth estuary indefinitely.

The county council secured a �1.8m grant to deal with the problem and had considered raising the road, but has now opted to 'develop the option' of installing a sluice.

The authority said it had responded to requests from the local community to consider this option – an idea which was supported by environment minister Richard Benyon at a meeting last week. Guy McGregor, the council's cabinet member responsible for transport, and Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey went through the proposals with Mr Benyon.

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The plans have been developed jointly by the county council, Environment Agency and Natural England and have been designed to have minimum impact on the surrounding environmental areas.

Mr McGregor said the minister recognised the proposal would do much more than reduce flooding on the A12, and would benefit the entire Blyth estuary and Southwold Harbour where improvements and repair work are planned.

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'Flooding at Blythburgh has been an issue for some time, most notably in November 2007 when the road was closed for two days,' he said. 'Following this, we successfully secured �1.8m of funding from the Department of Transport to put in place an effective solution to this problem.

'The sluice option should reduce the risk of flooding on this important road, as well as complementing the redevelopment work planned for Southwold Harbour and plans by the community to upgrade local flood defences.'

Detailed design work on the sluice will begin now, with construction likely to start before the end of 2012.

Dr Coffey welcomed the A12 sluice plan and added: 'This shows the importance of securing Richard Benyon's visit to the Suffolk coast in September.'

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