Riverbed work begins ahead of town's flood defence scheme

Flooding in 2013 in London Road South, Lowestoft.

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

Hundreds of homes have moved a step closer to being protected from flooding after the start of riverbed investigations.

Work began on Monday, February 1, as part of the Lowestoft Flood Risk Management Project, which will see up to 40m deep test holes drilled into the riverbed at the harbour entrance, east of the bascule bridge.

The work, which is expected to last around the clock for four weeks, will provide information on the ground structure to help design the foundations of the tidal barrier.

East Suffolk Council cabinet member for coastal management, David Ritchie

East Suffolk Council cabinet member for coastal management, David Ritchie - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

David Ritchie, East Suffolk Council's cabinet member for planning and coastal management, said: "These works are an important step in the project.

"While the works will be taking place 24 hours per day, seven days per week, due to their nature we do not anticipate any excessive noise and we are extremely grateful for the support of the Port and all those who use the harbour in helping us move this forward."


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The team carrying out the project will be working in bubbles, with PPE and rapid testing protocols in place to protect staff from the risks of Covid-19.

Tom Farley, project manager for Balfour Beatty, said: "The commencement of tidal barrier ground investigation works signifies the next step in the Lowestoft Flood Risk Management project, which, on completion, will protect over 1,500 homes and businesses from the risk of flooding.

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"Our experience and flood prevention capabilities will enable us to successfully and safely deliver the scheme, while also making a real and sustainable contribution to the local community through the Scape framework, including a number of employment opportunities for nearby residents."

Until the project is complete, the town will rely on temporary barriers, with training exercises held ahead of this winter.

Contractors Balfour Beatty have started work alongside the Kirkley Stream in Lowestoft as part of the Lowestoft Flood Risk...

Contractors Balfour Beatty have started work alongside the Kirkley Stream in Lowestoft as part of the Lowestoft Flood Risk Management Project. - Credit: Mick Howes

In August 2020, work on a localised flood defence scheme began around Kirkley Stream as part of the project, which was established after the devastation of the tidal surge in December 2013.

A month earlier, East Suffolk Council was awarded an "incredible funding boost" of more than £43.4 million by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for a 100-year flood protection scheme for Lowestoft.

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