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Conversations to save Lowestoft’s tidal barrier project still ongoing, leader says





Conversations are ongoing to save Lowestoft’s tidal barrier project, a leader has said.

The project was halted in late January due to no prospect of Government help to address the £124 million funding gap needed for its delivery.

Prompted yesterday by a question from a member of Use Your Voice Lowestoft, a local climate change advocate group, council leader Caroline Topping said conversations were ongoing to revive the project.

Conversations are ongoing to save Lowestoft’s tidal barrier project. Picture: East Suffolk Council
Conversations are ongoing to save Lowestoft’s tidal barrier project. Picture: East Suffolk Council

She said: “East Suffolk Council had no choice but to hold the works — conversations have continued with the department for the environment, food, and rural affairs and the Environment Agency in an attempt to achieve this funding and, if achieved, we would look to restart the project.

“However, we also have to be realistic and develop our plans based on the likelihood this funding will not be forthcoming.”

The work’s first phase was completed during 2023 but a £20 million shortfall meant the council would not be able to continue with the next stage, due to take up the first half of this year.

Cllr Caroline Topping. Picture: East Suffolk Council
Cllr Caroline Topping. Picture: East Suffolk Council

Cllr Topping added she had been left disappointed with the project not being mentioned in either the autumn statement or the spring budget speeches delivered by Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt, despite a business case outlining 100-year economic benefits.

In the meantime, she revealed, 1.4km of temporary defences would be deployed along lake loathing in the event of a tidal surge to work in conjunction with the £28.8 million tidal walls.

Cllr Topping said: “While the absence of funding for the barrier is disappointing, it was one of many investments in the future of Lowestoft.

“We will not let this setback define the outlook of the town.”