Utility leaders from around the UK have been presented with the latest plans arising from a pioneering £26.9m flood programme in Suffolk.
Vital river walls will be upgraded as a result of the project being led by the Alde and Ore Estuary Partnership with the aim of protecting homes, businesses and wildlife in the event of a one-in-200-year tidal surge.
Senior directors from utility companies came together to hear about its progress at a meeting hosted by MP for Suffolk Coastal Therese Coffey, then Minister of State for the Environment and now Work and Pensions Secretary.
Other estuary communities are keeping a close eye on the initiative to see how statutory, voluntary and charitable organisations can work together with communities, parish councils and landowners can work together to combat flooding.
The gathering at Snape Maltings in Ipswich on Friday 6 September was presented with detailed plans from the East Suffolk Internal Drainage Board (IDB), which has been commissioned to complete the upgrading of the river walls.
Representatives from Anglian Water, Essex and Suffolk Water, EDF and UK Power Networks joined the discussion with the Environment Agency, East Suffolk IDB, New Anglia LEP and CEFAS.
Alde and Ore Estuary Partnership and the fundraising charity Alde and Ore Estuary Trust had called for the meeting to ensure stakeholders with interests in areas at risk of flooding are kept up to speed with developments and are aware of opportunities for partnership working and funding bids.
Chairing the meeting, the Alde and Ore Estuary Partnership’s Alison Andrews said: “We were delighted that the utility companies attended with such a positive attitude to listen, collaborate and share ideas and plans.”
Dr Coffey said: “I thought we had a good discussion on how to work with large companies with key infrastructure assets. I was pleased such senior executives attended and I am confident that further detailed discussions will follow.”
For more information about the plans, go to www.aoep.co.uk