Alde and Ore News
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.