- structural collapse of the outfall defences at Benacre Pumping Station,
- erosion outflanking the pumping station to the north,
- erosion outflanking the pumping station outflanking to the south and
- waves overtopping from failure of the barrier beach to the south
Since 2019, officers from the Water Management Alliance and Jacobs undertook further site visits in the Lothingland and Kessingland valley area. The team conducted soil testing and sub-soil investigations which informed what the local sediments and geology are. This was important work as understanding the ground conditions was important to ensure that it was suitable to take the weight of new defences and potentially new pumping stations too. This was followed by ground investigation surveys as well as work with the local landowners. During all of this time Benacre Eastates and the Environment Agency have been working hard to maintain the current Benacre pump and the land defences around it.
The Outline Business Case for the Benacre and Kessingland Flood Risk Management project, which enabled the project to unlock Government funding, was given technical approval this summer, and we now have confirmation that this has been given full approval from the Environment Agency!
The project is currently being costed at £28m so the WMA have been spending the last year or so sourcing funds and making applications. We can happily now let you know that full funding has been secured, thanks to Central Government pots, Suffolk County Council and the Regional Flood and Coast Committee. The project is now moving into the Delivery Phase of the project. A big thank you to everyone involved in making this happen - securing £28m is no mean feat in this financial climate!
The projects consultants Jacobs, on behalf of Natural England, produced a Habitat Creation Study, and there are some exciting concepts which could deliver significant environmental, economic and societal gain for the community. A working group is being set up to move this part of the project forwards.
An application was made to East Suffolk Council on behalf of the Waveney, Lower Yare and Lothingland Internal Drainage Board to obtain a Certificate of Lawfulness to confirm that the IDB is able to carry out the required works under their Permitted Development Powers, meaning the project wouldn’t need planning permission. This has been granted which allows the project to move forwards.
Detailed designs are now being drawn up by the projects consultants STANTEC for the flood defence embankments across the valley and the pumping stations. All going to plan, construction should start in 2023 and be completed in 2025 /2026.
Construction of the scheme will involve several new assets as detailed below:
- Construction of a new embankment across the Lothingland Valley to manage tidal flooding of the A12 and manage flood risk to property upstream, as well as cater for climate change.
- A new pumping station will be constructed at the new embankment to manage river flooding.
- Construction of a new embankment south and west of Parkdean Holiday Park and Kessingland with a new small pumping station to manage surface water flooding.
- Decommissioning the existing Environment Agency pumping station, removing the structure and relocating the current rock armour.
Below is the first draft design drawing showing the location of new assets. New embankments (green lines) will be further inland across the Lothingland Valley and at the southern end of Kessingland around Parkdean, with their required pumping stations. The area between the existing Benacre Pumping Station and the new embankment across the Lothingland Valley would become intertidal habitat. The blue line shows the proposed new alignment of the River Hundred channel.
Beyond the flood protection, the scheme is looking to enabling two other separate but linked projects which aim to further increase the benefit the scheme can bring to the local area and community:
- Development of Intertidal and Wider Habitat Project
- Wider access, community amenity and business growth opportunities
Map showing the potential Intertidal habitat area and associated levels in front of the new embankment.
Left – Benacre Broad which the intertidal element of the scheme could look like.
Right - existing RSPB Minsmere, further south on the Suffolk Coast.
- 35 residential properties and 46 commercial properties will be at reduced flood risk
- 97ha of new intertidal habitat created
- 52km of river enhanced
- Flood protection to the A12
- 11million m3 of potentially available freshwater resources will be protected for the future
- 600ha of farmland in the floodplain will be better protected from flood risk
- Valuable fresh water abstraction within the valley protected from inundation from sea water.