More than £1 million is to be spent replacing Lynn’s flood gates, but officials admit the new ones won’t be any higher than those which withstood last month’s tidal surge.
The Environment Agency has announced that work to install the new metal barriers along the town’s waterfront will get underway in the spring.
But, despite the waters coming within inches of overtopping the existing barriers, the new set will be a “like for like” replacement.
That is because agency staff say there is no evidence to suggest that the town could face an even bigger surge than the one of December 5 in the future, which would in turn justify the installation of higher barriers.
A spokesman said yesterday: “The recent surge in King’s Lynn was the largest in recorded history, and the water did not overtop the height of the gates.”
But Lynn publican Roger Duggan, who called for the river Great Ouse to be damned in the wake of the surge, said the town had been “lucky” to escape serious flooding.
He said of the barriers: “They’re not going to be high enough.”
Work on the project, expected to cost around £1.2 million, is scheduled to start in April. The agency hopes it will be complete by the end of the year.
But officers maintain that the work is not connected to the exceptional tides the area endured in early December.
They say the work had been scheduled for some time prior to the surge, because the existing gates are coming towards the end of their usable life.
The spokesman said: “This is routine maintenance that has been planned for a long time because the flood gates are 30 years old.
“The gates performed well after the recent tidal surge and storms, but they still need to be replaced to ensure the defences continue to be as strong as possible.”
West Norfolk Council is planning to set aside £75,000 in its budget for the next financial year to work with the Environment Agency to install new flood gates along the promenade at Hunstanton.
If approved, the proposal, which will go before a meeting of the full council next week, would see the barriers replace existing flood protection boards in the area.