Tidal defences in Great Yarmouth are to receive £40.3m for refurbishment, which will upgrade the level of protection from tidal flooding to more than 4,500 homes and businesses in the area
Nearly 4km of flood walls will be improved and updated as part of the Tidal defences project which will better protect the local community in Great Yarmouth from the threat of east coast flooding.
Great Yarmouth has a history of flooding. During the 1953 east coast tidal surge, the tidal river defences in the town were breached in several places resulting in loss of life. More recently, in December 2013, approximately 9,000 people were urged to evacuate their homes as a result of the highest ever recorded tide in Great Yarmouth.
The work will see 46 tidal defence walls refurbished at locations across the town using an innovative technique that will extend their lifespan by up to 30 years. It follows on from the initial five-year phase of work which included the use of a specialised dam.
Funding is now in place for the next phase of the multi-partner project, which is being led by the Environment Agency and due to start later this year.
The £40.3m investment, plus £6.2m for ongoing maintenance, has come from a range of sources including £32.4m provided by central government. Partnership contributions have come from New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, £8.2m through the Growth Deal programme, and £2.8m from the Anglian Eastern Regional Flood & Coastal Committee. Norfolk County Council and Great Yarmouth Borough Council have also contributed towards the project and local quayside businesses are supporting through contributions and the provision of compound space.
Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey, said: “I’m very pleased to see the funding is now in place for this significant improvement to Great Yarmouth’s flood defences. An extra £5.4m of funding was added to our standard Defra grant in view of additional regeneration objectives to allow this project to proceed with important partnership funding contributions.
“Over £32m from direct government investment alongside the partnership funding will ensure 4,500 homes and businesses in the area are better protected from any future tidal flooding.”
Sir James Bevan, chief executive of the Environment Agency, commented: “We have worked very closely with our partners to enable this important project to go ahead. The upgraded defences will ensure that the flood defences in Great Yarmouth provide the best standard of protection to the local community for many decades to come.
“We are currently consulting on our Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Strategy and this project is a perfect example of some of the ways in which, by working together, we can make communities more resilient for the future.”
The first five-year phase of works to replace more than 500 metres of tidal defences was completed in early 2017.
The next phase of works is being delivered by the Environment Agency’s contractor JBA-Bentley.
Preliminary work for this new phase of improvements began in February.
Councillor Carl Smith, leader of Great Yarmouth Borough Council, added: “The River Yare Tidal Defences are a huge benefit to everyone who lives in, works in and visits our borough, reducing flood risk to our homes, workplaces, and the highways and other vital infrastructure that we use every day, better-protecting communities and helping the borough to realise its full economic potential.
“Together with the Environment Agency and local businesses, the borough council has played an instrumental role over the years in securing this crucial and most welcome investment from multiple sources, helping with lobbying and developing the robust business case. I’m pleased that work will soon be getting underway on the second phase.”