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Growing calls for tidal barrage move in King's Lynn

The Environment Agency has responded to calls for a tidal barrage in Lynn by saying options for a barrier are being considered.

As Extinction Rebellion climate change protestors gathered in St Nicholas’ Chapel on Thursday, concern over flooding levels in West Norfolk was again raised.

And Lynn resident Stuart Wilkie, who has a design engineering background, suggested constructing a tidal barrage across the Wash in Lynn as a means of controlling the tide.

The River Great Ouse in King's Lynn
The River Great Ouse in King's Lynn

Mr Wilkie pointed out that an Environement Agency flooding map shows that West Norfolk is in serious risk.

Campaigners have called for a Climate Emergency to be declared by the borough council as a result of rising water levels.

“We need to talk about this as a matter of urgency,” Mr Wilkie said.

“Public consultation should take place with the council. We really need to step up the game here.”

After the idea of a tidal barrage in Lynn had been put to the Environment Agency, a spokeswoman said “improvements” have been made to defences within Lynn in recent years.

She said: “At the moment there are no plans to look at a barrier, but when we start to look longer-term at flood planning for the Great Ouse, of which we have just started looking at the Fens, we expect some form of barrier will be one of the options that will be considered.

“Going back 100 years, there’s been the idea of a tidal barrier on the Great Ouse and indeed across The Wash.

“Currently, the tidal defences along the Great Ouse provide a high standard of flood protection to local communities and in recent years we have done improvement work to defences within King’s Lynn.”

An example of a tidal barrage in France
An example of a tidal barrage in France

In response to public consultation on adraft National Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Strategy, she added that action will need to be taken to combat flooding in coastal areas throughout the country.

“The need to adapt to sea level rise will mean that flood resilience and infrastructure choice for communities along our coast and estuaries need to be looked at over a long-term timeframe,” she said.

The Environment Agency has already invested £1.2 million when refurbishing Lynn’s current defences.

A spokeswoman for the borough council said: “From our point of view, we would work with the Environment Agency on any proposals for flood defences and certainly a tidal barrage would be an option to consider in the medium to long term.

“At the moment, King’s Lynn has sufficient flood defences, which are being maintained.”

The Environment Agency has a measuring station on Clenchwarton Road to collect water data from the Ouse at least once a day.

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