News story

Thousands of properties protected in first phase of flood defence scheme

More than 2,000 homes and businesses in Great Yarmouth will be better protected from the risk of flooding after the first phase of an Environment Agency major flood defence project has been completed.

The installation of the Limpet Dam at Great Yarmouth
The installation of the Limpet Dam at Great Yarmouth

The EA has recently finished the £28 million phase of work to replace over 500 metres of tidal defences, which reduces the risk of flooding to the Southtown and Cobham areas of Great Yarmouth.

The next stage of the project sees innovative technology, known as a Limpet Dam, being used to improve the condition of the defences. This is a temporary structure that allows engineers to inspect and repair the river wall in a dry environment that would otherwise be underwater. A trial has started at Berth 20, off South Quay, opposite Friar’s Lane, known as Bryant’s Wharf, and will run for the next couple of months.

Graham Verrier, Area Flood Risk Manager at the Environment Agency, said:

The quay walls in the next phase are in a better condition than those replaced in the first phase. We are using learning from that phase and intend to rejuvenate the walls with a programme of major repair and protection to reduce future corrosion.

This approach should provide a further 50 years of life to be gained from the defences for an estimated 30% of the cost of replacing them – reducing the flood risk to over 2,000 homes.

The Environment Agency intends to refurbish the tidal defences in 5-year phases over the coming decades. The overall scheme includes 12km of flood defences in Great Yarmouth that reduce the risk of tidal flooding from the River Yare to over 6,000 properties, including 5,000 homes.

Future phases of work will need external funding contributions. Great Yarmouth Borough Council and the Environment Agency, together with the New Anglia LEP, have supported a number of local businesses to form the Tidal Defence Business Partnership (TDBP) to help secure the additional external contributions for phase 2 and are committed to work in partnership for future phases of work.

John Clare, chairman of the TDBP said:

Around 1,000 businesses benefit from Great Yarmouth’s flood defences. We want to use this trial period to showcase the scheme to these businesses and explain how, and why they should get involved. We will be holding open days at the site for businesses on Monday 12 December and Wednesday 11 January.

Councillor Carl Smith, chairman of the borough council’s environment committee, said:

The case for investment in Great Yarmouth’s vital tidal defences is clear. The defences are key to attracting and sustaining business investment and jobs in key industries that are essential to the prosperity of the local, regional and national economies.

They also reduce the flood risk to homes, workplaces and community facilities, as well as the important infrastructure upon which we all rely. Everyone benefits from Great Yarmouth’s defences, and I am pleased with the progress of the business partnership in supporting efforts to move the scheme forward. This innovative trial is really exciting, because it means that potentially more defences could be refurbished in a shorter space of time.

John Fuller, Director of Great Yarmouth Warehousing Company added:

We were are delighted to work with the Environment Agency and others in the partnership and recognise the importance of investing in flood defences by making a significant contribution to the quayside improvements, which has a wider public benefit in terms of flood defence and economic growth.

For more information about the open days for businesses please email Bernard Harris: bernard.harris@great-yarmouth.gov.uk

Published 18 November 2016