Army to support coastal town's flood defence plans

Flooding in Lowestoft on the night of the storm surge in December 2013. Picture: Mick Howes

Flooding in Lowestoft on the night of the storm surge in December 2013. Picture: Mick Howes - Credit: Archant

The armed forces are being trained to protect Lowestoft families and businesses from severe flooding this winter.

Members of the 3rd Battalion of the Royal Anglian Regiment are being trained to support the deployment of temporary flood barriers around the town.

In the event of a tidal surge, the barriers will be positioned in four of the most vulnerable areas, alongside Kirkley Ham, Waveney Road, Belvedere Road and Commercial Road. 

STORM SURGE: The precaution to evacuate many of the residents from Levington Court sheltered housing

STORM SURGE: The precaution to evacuate many of the residents from Levington Court sheltered housing complex in London Road South was more than justified when the biggest floods for 60 years hit Lowestoft in 2013. Picture: MICK HOWES. - Credit: Archant

David Ritchie, East Suffolk Council's cabinet member for planning and coastal management, said: "It is essential that we have enough resource to deploy the temporary flood barriers to avoid the severity of flooding experienced by people and businesses in 2013.

"If required, the temporary flood barriers are deployed in places around the town where flooding was at its worst at that time.

"We are incredibly grateful to the Royal Anglian Regiment for their support."

A training exercise will be held on Saturday, December 12, with approximately 100m of the barrier deployed.

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The Water Management Alliance, on behalf of East Suffolk Council, will be hosting the training.

Commanding officer of 3 Royal Anglian, Lt Col Wolfe, said: "This has given the soldiers the opportunity to work with the equipment so that, if called upon, they will be ready for the challenge.

"Our soldiers live and work across the county and I know would be the first to step forward to support their community in a crisis.

"The Army is already supporting the Department of Health and Social Care during the Covid-19 pandemic and will stand ready this winter to support the Environment Agency should the need arise."

Flooding in 2013 in London Road South, Lowestoft. Picture: Nick Butcher.

Flooding in 2013 in London Road South, Lowestoft. Picture: Nick Butcher. - Credit: Nick Butcher

The council acquired 1400m of fully-removable barriers in 2016 using more than £400,000 of funding secured by the then-Waveney District Council from the Regional Flood and Coast Committee.

The temporary scheme is aimed at reducing the risk to people, businesses and infrastructure while the permanent Lowestoft Flood Risk Management Project progresses.

Construction of the permanent scheme is under way with construction of flood walls and a pumping station to reduce the risk of flooding from the river and from extreme rainfall.

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