The Alde and Ore Estuary Partnership

Alde and Ore 2What is the Estuary Partnership? 

The Alde and Ore Estuary Partnership, was created in May 2012 as a new model to enable local communities to take over the management of their flood defences (see The Secretary of State for the Environment, Richard Benyon, on )

For all of us who live, work and visit this very special area, the river defences play a defining role on our estuary and local economy. It is not just those who live in the flood plain who would be affected but our whole way of life, businesses, property and tourism would all be at risk should the walls breach as they did in 1953.

What does the partnership aim to achieve and how will I benefit?

It is estimated some £12Million will be required to upgrade our defences to withstand surge tides. We hope everyone feels part of our endeavor to maintain the defences, as without convincing local commitment we may fail to meet our aims.

Who is involved?

The Partnership was set up to cover all interests in the estuary: parish councillors, farmers and landowners, ecological interests, householders and the Alde and Ore Association represent a wide variety of community interests. The Environment Agency, Suffolk County and District Council, Natural England and the ANOB unit all advise the partnership.

What has been done so far?

Under the Chairmanship of Sir Edward Greenwell Bt, since May 2012 the management of the estuary has been agreed as defined in the Final Estuary Plan see here: and endorsed by the statutory authorities in June 2016.   Work has already commenced at Snape and on the Aldeburgh Marsh wall (Phase 1 completed).   Modelling of the whole estuary has recently been completed to assess flood risk and impact on intertidal areas and creation opportunities.  There will be a full community meeting in Spring 2018 (see dates below) to discuss the various schemes proposed and a more refined phased and costed programme of the necessary flood defence work.

How can I get involved?

Only around £2million will be available from government funding, the remainder will have to be raised by the community, charity applications and potentially a HLF application.  Please contact the AOEP on  if you would like to offer help with IT, design & support for the website and newsletters or more practical help monitoring the saltmarsh trials. Fundraising is managed by The Estuary Trust, please contact if you have any ideas on how to raise funds or if you would like to help in organizing events such as the Big Pub Quiz.

See our film here presented by Nick Robinson and


Photo by Tony Pick

Alde and Ore News

Community Meetings

Community meetings have been arranged to discuss a number of possible variations to the Estuary Plan following the flood risk assessment report by HR Wallingford. It has become clear that consideration must be given to providing some surge tide storage area.

Both reports that were completed last year identified the benefits of a ‘flood release valve’ at Iken to allow water to move onto the land in a surge event which would relieve the water levels in the upper estuary and reduce flood risk to Snape, Aldeburgh and Ham Creek while building up the walls took place.  It will be very important to have your views so please try to come to one of these drop-in sessions:

Orford Town Hall Thursday 8th March 2 - 7pm:

Aldeburgh Church Hall Tuesday 13th March 2 - 7pm:

Snape Village Hall Wednesday 14th March 2 - 7pm

Following these drop-in sessions, the Partnership will be holding their Annual Community Meeting at Snape Maltings Recital Room Saturday 14th April 1030 - 1pm and there will be a number of presentations to inform and discuss the scheme options under consideration.  It will be important to have as broad a discussion as possible.

Estuary update on flood risk modelling
The AOEP works closely with the Internal Drainage Board (IDB), a unique partnership nationally in fact, who commissioned a hydrodynamic model of the whole estuary which has recently been completed by HR Wallingford, funded by the Regional Flood and Coastal Committee. This assessment highlights the flood risk in a number of scenarios (various wall heights and surge events) and provides the information required to apply for consents to upgrade the walls. Part of this modelling was funded by Tidal Lagoon Power (TLP) as they are looking at east coast estuaries for potential intertidal habitat creation opportunities to offset their tidal energy projects in the Severn Estuary. TLP's modelling has considered potential managed realignment (MR) options (breaching of defences to create new mudflats) with various local landowners.

As previous modelling had suggested some localised flood risk while the walls were being raised, there were a number of discussions that centred on needing a flood release valve. Partly generated by Tidal Lagoon Power’s exploration as to how compatible their needs dovetailed with our plans, MR in the Iken flood cell became an option under discussion. However, although TLP’s MR option could temptingly save the Partnership £2-3 million pounds by reducing the upgrading costs (i.e. less wall to upgrade), the landowners’ first objective is to have the Iken wall consistent with the rest of the estuary. This prompted 3 further modelling runs to understand the implications. The initial assessment of the report (draft received late on 5th March) suggests that it will be possible to have a height of 3.3 metres throughout the estuary (including at Iken) although some flooding mitigation to a small number of houses in Iken and Orford will be necessary as a temporary measure until all the walls are upgraded.

Currently, therefore, the AOEP are proceeding with the agreed estuary plan. It may well be that areas of managed retreat will be needed in future. There is a monitoring programme in place with Natural England to assess the ‘coastal squeeze’ issues our Estuary Plan may create in time.

The AOEP are working with the IDB to develop a fully costed and phased programme of works for the whole estuary which will include all management costs to provide a more refined funding total.
The Annual Community Meeting will be held on Saturday 14th April 2018 at Snape Maltings Recital Room at 11am. Everyone is very welcome.

April 2018

Amanda Bettinson
Partnership Secretary