Seaside town to test flood defences to prepare for 'tidal surge'

An archive photo of previous flooding at Lowestoft seafront. Photo: Nick Butcher

Lowestoft is testing its flood defences tonight ahead of Winter. - Credit: EDP pics © 2007

A town is set to test its flood defences ahead of a potential winter "tidal surge".

Lowestoft will test its temporary flood barriers at 6.30pm on Thursday, October 21, with those operating the barriers set to be put through their paces to ensure East Suffolk Council can provide the best possible response to the threat of a "North Sea tidal surge".  

This year the exercise will be held at Commercial Road where approximately 100m of the barrier will be deployed.

The flood barrier will be erected, disassembled and re-stowed as part of the night-time exercise.

Some parking restrictions will be in place, as well as some minor traffic management.

Bosses say they aim to keep disruption to a minimum, with the exercise expected to last approximately six hours. 

Councillor David Ritchie, East Suffolk Council’s cabinet member for planning and coastal management, said: “It is essential that we regularly test these barriers in order to avoid the severity of flooding experienced by people and businesses in December 2013.

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

"Each year, we carry out a trial deployment to ensure we are ready to face the winter.

“Last year the Government awarded Lowestoft £43m to build permanent tidal flood walls and a tidal barrier. Until these are in place, we will deploy our temporary barriers to reduce the risk of flooding to people, homes and businesses.” 

In the event of a tidal surge, temporary barriers will be constructed in a position to best protect the most vulnerable areas from flooding.

Barriers will be deployed in four areas around the harbour: alongside Kirkley Ham, Waveney Road, Belvedere Road and Commercial Road. 

The barriers were purchased to provide protection for the town while a permanent flood scheme — known as the Lowestoft Flood Risk Management Project — is created.

This project is underway, with construction of flood walls now complete and a pumping station to provide protection to houses previously flooded from the Kirkley stream.

The first phase of construction of the tidal defences began in May, with phase two expected to begin construction in November. 

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