Tidal wall work to resume next year after delays

Breaking ground in May 2021 for the Lowestoft Flood Risk Management Project tidal walls work.

Breaking ground in May 2021 for the Lowestoft Flood Risk Management Project tidal walls work. - Credit: East Suffolk Council

Phase two of work on Lowestoft’s tidal walls is to begin in January after delays caused by legal agreements.

The £67million flood protection scheme will see flood walls established as well as a new tidal flood barrier.

Construction work on the flood walls, which are due to be a mix of fixed concrete walls, flood gates and demountable barriers (those which can be removed when not required), began in May this year with an anticipated completion of May 2022.

However an update from Coastal Partnership East being presented to East Suffolk Council this week has confirmed some delays.

“Construction on package one of the tidal flood walls officially began in May 2021, with works continuing at a pace along Hamilton Road and Waveney Road,” the report said.

“The start of construction on package two of the tidal flood walls around the Royal Norfolk and Suffolk Yacht Club and South Pier has been delayed due to legal agreements not yet being in place.

“These works are now expected to start in January 2022 and will be split over two winter seasons, with work stopping in March 2022 and recommencing in October 2022.

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“Work can only take place over the winter months due to the impact construction would have on tourism in the summer.”

The council said the phase one work will continue until the end of 2022.

The Lowestoft Flood Risk Management Project is seen as a vital scheme for the town, established after the tidal surges of 2013.

The entire project, of which the walls are only a part, will protect more than 1,500 homes and 800 businesses from future flooding.

An East Suffolk Council spokeswoman said: “The Lowestoft Flood Risk Management Project is complex with many elements.

“The programme for a project of this size and nature will experience changes and, in some cases, delays as is the case for other similar projects that have been delivered around the UK.

“However in 2016, East Suffolk Council in partnership with the Regional Flood and Coastal Committee, purchased 1400m of temporary flood barriers.

“This temporary defence reduces the risk of flooding to the most vulnerable areas of Lowestoft and will continue to do so until the permanent flood defence is fully operational.

“The temporary flood barriers are tested each year to ensure that they are fit for purpose. The last training event was successfully completed in late October.”

For the tidal barrier element, concept design work is underway and will continue to the end of the year.

That will then progress to outline and detailed plans next year and potential further ground investigations if needed.

The barrier, which is being built in the outer harbour, is due to be completed in 2026.