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Lowestoft Flood Risk Management Project

Here you will find important information on our Project and its goals - past and present, as well as advice and details on how you can get involved.

the Lowestoft Flood Risk Management Project

Tidal Flooding

What area does the Strategy cover?

This Strategy covers the areas of Lowestoft deemed to be at significant risk from tidal flooding between the Outer Harbour and the western end of Lake Lothing at Mutford Lock; from river flooding along Kirkley Stream, and from surface water flooding both adjacent to Kirkley Stream and other key areas identified to the north and south of Lake Lothing.

The main risk from tidal flooding is from the sea caused by a tidal surge that develops in the North Sea along the eastern coastline of the United Kingdom as was demonstrated by the events in 1953 and most recently in December 2013. Lowestoft has very limited existing tidal flood defences and without further investment, the town will remain at significant risk.

The risk from river flooding was demonstrated by the event last July 2015 along Kirkley Stream. The risk of surface water flooding from extreme rainfall events has been considered within a number of local flood risk zones. In both cases it is important to consider the zone or area that contributes to the flood risk rather than a specific location where the flooding occurs.

Why do we need a Strategy?

The December 2013 tidal surge flood event which resulted in over 160 properties being affected and business brought to a standstill, highlighted the inadequacy of Lowestoft’s flood defences and the impact it has on existing and potential growth for the town. This was further reinforced by the flooding in the Kirkley area of Lowestoft in July 2015 following an extreme rainfall event. This demonstrated Lowestoft’s vulnerability to all forms of flooding from the sea, rivers and extreme rainfall.

Solutions are needed to address all these forms of flooding to offer the best possible flood risk management for Lowestoft. Lowestoft has very limited existing flood defences and, without further investment, there is a risk that the instances of flooding will increase as the impacts of climate change increase. Unless we act there is a risk that in the future losses to property and businesses from flooding within Lowestoft will become unsustainable and will prevent any future growth.

We need a Strategy so that we can gain approval from the government for the schemes and help secure public grant aid monies to contribute to the cost of the flood risk management solutions. The Strategy will also feed into our local plans.

This Strategy forms the first step in setting out our future approach to managing this flood risk. In making decisions about this, we need to consider how our actions in one area could affect another and also make sure that choices we make now will not have a negative impact on our long term plans.

Following on from this Strategy there will be a number of activities before any schemes can take place. These will include detailed appraisal of the options, confirming funding sources and planning.

How has the strategy been developed?

In deciding the best ways in which we should manage flood risk in Lowestoft now and in the future, we have carried out a number of studies looking at:

  • the current extent and risk of flooding
  • how flood risk could increase in the future through
  • the impacts of climate change
  • the costs and benefits of providing different flood risk management solutions

To ensure that impacts to people, the local economy and the environment have been fully understood and taken into consideration, everyone living, visiting or working on or around Lowestoft has been invited to take part in determining how flood risk within Lowestoft should be managed.

To date this has been through:

  • engagement with key stakeholders
  • one-to one discussions
  • the formation of a Project Advisory Group, consisting of members of the community and local businesses.

We have used the feedback from this consultation to make decisions on the best approach and the options that are proposed to be taken forward in the strategy.

How will we pay for future defences?

To undertake any works identified within the Strategy it will rely on the availability of funds. Some funding is available from central government - this is known as ‘Flood Defence Grant in Aid’ or ‘FDGiA’. 

The amount of money the government contributes depends upon the number of households and other assets, such as businesses, being protected.

For Lowestoft it is unlikely that we will be given full funding from Flood Defence Grant in Aid. But it is possible that projects may qualify for partial funding and still go ahead in time if other funding can be found to meet the remainder of the cost.

So we have been looking at ways that we can find funding from others in order to pay for works now and in the future.

How does this strategy tie-in with the the Gorleston to Lowestoft coastal strategy?

This strategy abuts and overlaps in some areas with the Gorleston to Lowestoft Coastal Strategy which is considering the shoreline and coastal defences.

Due to these overlaps both strategies are being consulted on together and will seek approval with the Environment Agency and Defra at the same time.

What strategic flood risk management solutions have been considered for tidal flooding?

In deciding the best ways in which we should manage tidal flood risk in Lowestoft now and in the future, we have assessed a long list of options as follows:

  • Do nothing (Option 1)
  • Maintain existing defences (Option 2)
  • Improve - defence raising – walls only (Option 3)
  • Improve - defence raising – walls combined with a barrier
    • 3 barrier locations considered
  • Outer Harbour (Option 4)
  • seaward of Bascule Bridge (Options 5)
  • within Lake Lothing combined with 3rd crossing (Option 6)

Details of the options are explained in the Summary document.

What criteria have been used to assess the strategic flood risk management solutions considered?

In assessing the possible options the following criteria have been used to decide which of those solutions offer the best with ways to manage tidal flood risk in Lowestoft now and in the future:

  • Level of flood risk reduction
  • Impact on navigation
  • Impact on residents and businesses
  • Environmental and landscape impact
  • Impact on highways and bridges
  • Buildability
  • Delivery timescale
  • Cost – capital and whole life
  • Potential regeneration benefits
  • Potential benefits linked with 3rd Crossing project