THE senior official at the sharp end of protest over the Environment Agency’s plans to abandon some of the flood defences in Suffolk’s estuaries has moved to a new job overseeing the region’s response to the threat of inland and coastal flooding.
Dr Charles Beardall has moved from his job at Ipswich as the agency’s area manager, covering Suffolk, Norfolk and Essex, to become regional flood and coastal risk manager for the east of England, based in Peterborough.
It was also revealed yesterday that extra staff members are being drafted in to the agency’s Suffolk-based team to help deal with coastal issues, including engagement with a public which has proved hostile to plans for “managed retreat”. (more…)
October 10, 2008
October 7, 2008
The Alde and Ore Association has issued a rallying cry to residents, businesses and tourists in the Aldeburgh and Orford area, warning the future of the land is under threat.
The Environment Agency is set to reveal its strategy for the area within the next six months – but the association fears it may follow the highly controversial proposals for the Blyth estuary.
There, the agency wants to stop repairing the flood walls which protect land and property around Blythburgh, Southwold, Reydon and Walberswick, because national funding is not available.
David Andren, Alde and Ore Association chairman, said: “Unless our coastal and river defences are maintained, hundreds of businesses in towns surrounding the Alde and Ore estuary will be put at risk.
“If there is a breach in the sea defences south of Slaughden this will almost certainly lead to breaches in our river defences, notably the walls protecting the Aldeburgh marshes.” (more…)
September 28, 2008
Villagers fighting to protect their land and homes from being lost to the sea were offered a glimmer of hope yesterday.
The Environment Agency’s Eastern Regional Flood Defence Committee (RFDC) met to discuss plans to abandon flood defences around the Blyth estuary in north Suffolk.
The Environment Agency (EA) wants to stop repairing the flood walls, which protect land and property around Blythburgh, Southwold, Reydon and Walberswick, because it says it cannot afford the £35m needed to maintain them.
The RFDC yesterday looked at submissions which have been received during the year-long consultation process and asked the EA to reconsider its strategy for the estuary. (more…)
YORKSHIRE has yet to wake up to the threat of the Humber Flood Risk Strategy, according to National Farmers’ Union secretary for Holderness Ed Davey.
He says farmers need to realise that it is not only cliff-edge cottages which are threatened by the Environment Agency’s proposed abandonment of coastal defences.
The strategy, combined with the likely rise in sea level, will mean thousands of hectares of farmland being flooded by the sea on a regular basis within 40 years – and many more could be hit by knock-on effects. (more…)
September 23, 2008
Tens of thousands of tonnes of sea defence rock will be shipped to Norfolk’s coast by barge in the run up to Christmas, while a sister operation pumps huge quantities of sand from the seabed to build up the beaches.
The multi-million pound project will beef up and repair both the soft and hard defences around Waxham, Horsey, Winterton, Sea Palling and Eccles as contractors Team Van Oord carry out the work on behalf of the Environment Agency. (more…)
September 22, 2008
From the Autumn edition of the Environment Agency’s newsletter Flood News:
In April this year the Environment Agency became the lead organisation responsible for all flood and erosion risk management around the coastline of England.
This new role is a “first”, giving us a unique opportunity to lead the country in developing a coastal management plan that works at local, regional and national level. Our partner organisations, including local authorities, will put agreed plans into practical action. We will support them by giving Grant-in-Aid (GiA) funding and overseeing the work carried out.
September 6, 2008
VILLAGERS battling to protect their land and homes from flooding have vowed to carry on fighting plans to abandon defences around a north Suffolk estuary.
The Environment Agency (EA) has confirmed that it intends to press ahead with its policy of “managed retreat” around the Blyth Estuary, despite months of public protest against the proposals.
Thousands of acres of farmland and about 20 homes could be lost to the sea if campaigners do not manage to persuade the EA to protect flood walls which protect land around Blythburgh, Walberswick, Southwold and Reydon. (more…)
September 5, 2008
The battle to protect large sections of the north Suffolk coastline from flooding was dealt a huge blow last night after it emerged environment chiefs were set to continue with plans to abandon defences.
Protesters have fought a high- profile campaign against the Environment Agency’s proposals to stop maintaining flood defences along the Blyth estuary, but appear to be facing a bitter defeat. (more…)
August 18, 2008
Daily Mail: “Parts of Britain’s coastline will need to be evacuated due to rising tides, Government’s environment chief warns”
While promising to do his ‘level best’ to fund engineering solutions to the problem, Lord Smith warned that all coastal areas could not be saved.
He said: ‘We are almost certainly not going to be able to defend absolutely every bit of coast – it would simply be an impossible task both in financial terms and engineering terms.’
The agency, working with ministers, would have to identify ‘priority areas’ to defend, he said.
Lord Smith suggested that parts of north-east Norfolk and Suffolk faced the greatest threat, according to research by the Agency which will be released in 2009.
In an interview with The Independent, he went on: ‘We will publish next year details of the work that’s been done, where we think the particular threats are, where we think there is current defence in place.
‘We will begin to talk with communities where we think defence is not a viable option.’
He also warned that ministers could no longer rely on insurance companies to cover families who lost their homes , suggesting they would have to be rehoused at the taxpayer’s expense.
His comments will embarrass the government, which in May this year was forced to deny that areas of the Norfolk coastline would be surrendered.
Flooding Minister Phil Woolas said there was ‘no question’ of abandoning seaside villages from Eccles to Winterton if sea levels rise.
Read the full story by Tamara Cohen in the Daily Mail
In the Telegraph, Jon Swaine added comments from former Environment Minister, and MP for Suffolk Coastal John Gummer:
Mr Gummer, who has set up Suffolk Coast Against Retreat, a group campaigning for the preservation of vulnerable areas, said: “Chris Smith’s wide ranging speech must be taken seriously. The Government must listen to the concerns of the people of Suffolk and the rest of the East Coast. We want managed defence, not managed retreat. This must not be the first government in history to abandon Britain to the sea.
“Coastal erosion is perhaps the most serious issue that faces the Suffolk Coastal Constituency. We have 74 miles of coastline and all of it is vulnerable.”
The Environment Agency website has a new flood mapping service allowing visitors to type in a postcode and find out if it’s at risk from flooding, from rivers or
The Flood Map is a multi-layered map which provides information on flooding from rivers and the sea for England and Wales. It also has information on flood defences and the areas benefiting from those flood defences.
The key for the Flood Map consists of the following layers of information:
- Flooding from rivers or sea without defences – the natural flood plain area that could be affected in the event of flooding from rivers and the sea
- For flooding from rivers the map indicates the extent of a flood with a 1% (1 in 100) chance of happening each year
- For flooding from the sea the map shows the extent of a flood with a 0.5% (1 in 200) chance of happening each year
- Extent of extreme flood – the extent of a flood with a 0.1% (1 in 1000) chance of happening each year
- Flood defences – flood defences such as embankments and walls, and flood storage areas (which are areas of land designed and operated to store flood water)
- Areas benefiting from flood defences – where possible we show the areas that benefit from the flood defences shown, in the event of a river flood with a 1% (1 in 100) chance of happening each year, or a flood from the sea with a 0.5% (1 in 200) chance of happening each year. If the defences were not there, these areas would flood. Note that we do not show all areas that benefit from flood defences.