Authorities ‘must act now to avoid disaster’, says King’s Lynn publican

Landlord of the Crown & Mitre Roger Duggan who wants to see a dam built across the mouth of the Ouse.

Landlord of the Crown & Mitre Roger Duggan who wants to see a dam built across the mouth of the Ouse.

As the clean-up operation from last week’s flooding continues, a Lynn publican has claimed the surge should be a wake-up call to the authorities to properly protect the town.

Roger Duggan believes it is inevitable the town will be flooded again if action is not taken and warned the money must be found to dam the River Great Ouse.

However, environmental officials have said there are ecological concerns over the potential impact of such a move, though they have revealed they were considering renovating the existing defences before last Thursday’s high tides.

Mr Duggan’s pub, the Crown and Mitre in Ferry Street, narrowly escaped serious damage during the surge, which the Environment Agency has said is the highest ever recorded in the town.

While buildings and businesses on the South Quay were damaged by the waves, the flood barriers, which were closed in expectation of the storm, largely withstood the barrage.

But Mr Duggan believes the town was only saved from far greater damage by the direction the wind was blowing.

He said: “The wind was from the west. If that had swung round to the north-west, the water would have gone way over the sea wall and the town would have flooded.”

He maintains a move to dam the river by installing lock gates would protect the town and maintain its historic buildings, some of which were damaged by the surge.

He said: “People come to this town to see the historic buildings and here we are letting them flood.

“I don’t care if it costs 100 trillion pounds. Money is replaceable. These buildings are not.”

And he said he had raised the idea with senior politicians and the Environment Agency several years ago, though nothing was done.

An Environment Agency spokesman said: “Despite the largest tidal surge in years, pre-existing concerns about how a dam would affect biodiversity and conservation still remain. It would also be a considerable financial cost.

“However, we have been looking into refurbishing the existing defences since before the tidal surge.

“We will take into consideration the performance of the defences over the past week when deciding how to carry out these refurbishments.

“But generally speaking, we think our flood defences performed well in the face of extremely severe conditions.”




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