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Flood defence group pins hope on report

PUBLISHED: 13:31 31 December 2008 | UPDATED: 22:06 05 July 2010

A CAMPAIGN group battling to maintain flood defences in a north Suffolk estuary is awaiting publication of a scientific report which could change future plans for the management of the area.

A CAMPAIGN group battling to maintain flood defences in a north Suffolk estuary is awaiting publication of a scientific report which could change future plans for the management of the area.

The Blyth Estuary Group wants to protect flood walls in the estuary, near Southwold, and an environmental study is due to be published within the next few weeks which could help them fight for their cause.

The Environment Agency (EA) plans to stop maintaining defences around the estuary over the next 20 years because protecting them would not be financially viable as very little sediment is being deposited there, leaving flood walls vulnerable to erosion.

However, the Blyth Estuary Group has long claimed that material is still being deposited and members are hopeful that this new scientific research will prove this and show that erosion would not necessarily damage the mud banks beyond repair.

Group member and local landowner Andrew Blois said: “We are hoping that this report will show that there is substantial sedimentation still going on in the estuary.

“It might still show that there are also increasing erosive forces on the banks, but having more sediment than has previously been predicted would make that sustainable.”

He added: “We have been involved in this all along and worked with the Environment Agency to help prepare the brief for the research.”

The Environment Agency, Suffolk County Council and Waveney and Suffolk Coastal district councils have jointly commissioned the study from environment consultants Kenneth Pye and Associates, which should be published in the middle of January.

Mr Blois said that Professor Pye took a boat trip around the estuary this autumn to gather evidence for his research.

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