UK Environment Agency’s new, £67.4m tidal flood defence barrier for Ipswich has been opened, which will ensure protection for more than 1,600 homes and 400 businesses from flooding and the impacts of climate change over the course of the next century.
The new flood defence features a 200-tonne rotating barrier, which can be raised in minutes, helping to keep the town safe from tidal surges during storms.
The design of the flood gate is similar to that of the Thames Barrier and is coated with six tonnes of protective paint.
The flood gate rotates upwards out of the sea floor into the closed position, holding back tidal surges that could flood the town.
The project also includes 1,100 metres of new and refurbished flood walls and a series of flood gates on the banks of the River Orwell.
The new defences will provide a higher level of protection from the type of tidal surge which threatened the town in 2007 and 2013.
In addition to reducing flood risk, the new flood defence scheme is also expected to boost the local economy by freeing up hectares of land for regeneration.
The flood defence scheme, which will reduce the risk of flooding to 1,608 homes and 422 businesses as well as key infrastructure, has been funded by the Environment Agency (£54.6m), Ipswich Borough Council through the Haven Gateway Partnership (£3.4m) and the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (£6.6m), the Regional Flood and Coastal Committee (£1.7m) and UK Power Networks (£1.1m).
A major step for the council’s Core Development Strategy for Ipswich, the scheme will release land for development helping to create up to 4,000 jobs.
Floods Minister Thérèse Coffey said: “This important new flood scheme, which has received nearly £55 million of government funding, over 80% of the total cost, will better protect over 1,600 homes in Ipswich from tidal flooding over the next 100 years.
“The scheme will also secure the future of hundreds of local businesses whilst creating 4,000 jobs to boost the town’s economy.
“I am delighted the Government is investing so significantly in the county town of Suffolk and its future prosperity.”
Image: Aerial view of the new £67.4m Ipswich tidal barrier. Photo: Courtesy of GOV.UK.