Flood defences protecting over four thousand homes in Great Yarmouth are to be improved following the announcement today by the Environment Secretary, Owen Paterson.
The Environment Secretary announced the approval of 93 new flood defence projects, which were given the green light to start construction this year. Included in the list is the £28.6 million project to improve the flood defences in the centre of Great Yarmouth.
More than 660m of flood wall will be replaced in Cobholm and Southtown, and other flood defences will be repaired, to ensure the continued protection of 4,000 homes and businesses from tidal flooding.
It is hoped work will start in April this year with completion in December 2015. The flood defence scheme is dependent upon £6m of local contributions being secured.
These contributions from local councils, businesses and private investors are needed to unlock the funding announced today for the scheme.
The Anglian (Eastern) Regional Flood and Coastal Committee recognise the importance and urgency of these works and have approved a £3m contribution to the scheme.
Part of the Government funding for the Great Yarmouth scheme will come from the £120 million acceleration and economic growth fund announced in the 2012 Autumn Statement to speed up the construction of around 50 schemes in England.
More than 3,000 people were evacuated from their homes in Great Yarmouth in the 2007 surge tide which came close to overtopping the flood defences.
Reducing the risk of flooding will enable Great Yarmouth Borough Council to attract investment in the town, which is also a Government Enterprise Zone, to encourage news businesses and growth.
Environment Agency Area Flood Risk Manager David Murphy said: “Over the last few years we have been working really closely with partners for an affordable solution to the flood risk in Great Yarmouth.
“We are delighted this important project has secured a significant Grant in Aid contribution from Government, and can now progress as soon as the local funding has been secured.
“We will be continuing to talk to Great Yarmouth Borough Council and other partners to start construction as soon as possible.”
Across the country £294 million is to be invested in flood risk management this year, 160,000 homes are now expected to be better protected by 2015, which is 15,000 more than the previous goal.
Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said: “By building defences that will unlock the economic potential of once blighted land we are saying to people that it is safe to come and set up.
“This will create jobs and grow the economy so we can compete in the global race.”
The flood defence schemes announced today bring the total of partnership funding contributions to £148 million. These contributions, from local councils, businesses and private investors, are in addition to the Government’s investment.
“The increase in external investment has been made possible by the partnership funding model introduced by Defra in 2011 to allow more schemes to go ahead.
Mr Paterson added: “Our partnership funding approach is a clear success, bringing in £148 million on top of our £2.3 billion investment so that more flood defences can be built.
“We now expect to protect 160,000 homes and businesses from flooding by 2015, exceeding our previous goal by 15,000.”
Lord Smith, Chairman of the Environment Agency, said: “With one in six homes in England at risk of flooding, we would also encourage people to take their own steps to prepare for flooding, for example by signing up to the Environment Agency’s free flood warning service.”
As well as the flood schemes that will progress as result of this year’s funding, the allocation for 2013/14 covers maintenance of existing defences. The Environment Agency has committed to increasing the number of people receiving free flood warnings to over 1.1 million households by 2015.
The Government is on course to spend £2.3 billion to prevent flooding and coastal erosion over the four years to 2015.