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Last Updated: Monday, 8 May 2006, 15:55 GMT 16:55 UK
Flood barriers for Suffolk town
Ipswich docks
The barriers aim to help protect Ipswich from flooding
More than 40m is to be spent by the Environment Agency on improving the flood protection barriers for Ipswich.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs gave the go-ahead for two 20 metre gates to be built.

These will be placed in the lower part of the River Orwell at New Cut at the heart of the waterfront development.

Everything upstream will then be protected against a surge tide and existing defences will also be improved to protect against river flooding.

With the problems of global warming and increasing sea levels, there is a strong case to improve the defences in Ipswich
Jim Anderson

The rivers Orwell and Gipping run through the town, through both industrial and residential areas.

The town is currently protected from flooding by a system of flood defences of varying age and condition.

Jim Anderson, project manager for the Environment Agency, said: "The agency has been developing a flood risk management strategy for Ipswich for the last 18 months

"It highlighted the problems with existing defences in Ipswich, which are getting to the end of their useful life and offer low protection for such an urban area."

Fluvial flooding

He added: "With the problems of global warming and increasing sea levels, there is a strong case to improve the defences in Ipswich."

The new barrier means the Environment Agency will be able to safeguard the town from a one in 300-year probability of an extreme weather event rather than the current one in 50 or one in 100-year protection.

The works will also include improvements to all of the town's current flood defences, where there is still some threat of fluvial flooding - which is the flow of water that comes down the river.

Improvement work on the current flood defences is expected to take place within the next 12 months while the new barrier is set to be in place by 2012.

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