A £40 million project to upgrade vital flood defences in Great Yarmouth has started.
Environment Minster Rebecca Pow MP and Environment Agency Chair, Emma Howard Boyd, joined local partners to mark the start of work on this major scheme which will see thousands of homes and businesses better protected from tidal flooding for decades to come.
The work, which is expected to complete next year, will upgrade the level of protection from tidal flooding to more than 4,500 homes and businesses in the local area. It has been supported by £8.2million from New Anglia LEP’s Growth Deal.
The refurbishment works will extend the working life of the existing defences, and the new innovative construction methods being used will significantly reduce the carbon footprint of the project.
Great Yarmouth has a history of flooding, during the 1953 east coast tidal surge, the tidal river defences in the town were breached in several places resulting in a tragic loss of life.
More recently, in December 2013, approximately 9,000 people were urged to evacuate their homes as a result of the highest ever recorded tide in Great Yarmouth.
This major project will see 46 flood defence walls refurbished at locations across the town using an innovative technique that will extend their lifespan by up to 30 years.
The refurbishment follows on from an initial five-year phase of work which included the use of a specialised dam to inspect and repair the steel sheet piles that form the flood walls.
Doug Field, chair of New Anglia LEP, said: “This project is a great example of how partnership working can deliver projects which have a real impact on our people, places and economy.
“Great Yarmouth is a vital part of our all-energy coast. It sits at the centre of the world’s largest market for offshore wind and is of huge strategic importance to out region.
“By protecting homes and businesses and creating a safe environment for more to be created, these sea defences will allow the town to reach its potential as a key contributor to our economy.”