Pioneering Collaboration For Flood Prevention

Thérése Coffey MP convenes utility infrastructure companies for unique meeting

Some of the most senior utility directors in the UK gathered at the Snape Maltings on Friday 6th September to hear the latest plans of the Alde and Ore Estuary Partnership’s pioneering £26.9m flood programme to upgrade vital river walls.  The gathering was hosted by Suffolk Coastal MP, the Rt Hon Therese Coffey, the then-Minister of State for the Environment before her promotion two days later to Work and Pensions Secretary.

The pioneering collaboration of the Alde and Ore Estuary Partnership is being watched carefully by other estuary communities of the UK, as a role model of how statutory, voluntary and charitable organisations can work together with communities, Parish Councils and landowners to agree a shared vision and programme of works to make the estuary landscape of homes, businesses and protected wildlife resilient to a 1-in-200 year tidal surge.

The meeting was attended by some of the most senior executives of the UK’s utilities that have infrastructure or areas of interest in the identified flood cells, to hear detailed plans from the East Suffolk Internal Drainage Board (IDB) who have been commissioned to complete the upgrading of the river walls. Representatives from Anglian Water, Essex and Suffolk Water, EDF and UK Power Networks joined the discussion with the Environment Agency, East Suffolk IDB, New Anglia LEP and CEFAS, along with venue host Harry Young of Snape Maltings. The Alde and Ore Estuary Partnership and the fundraising charity Alde and Ore Estuary Trust had called for the meeting to ensure that all stakeholders in the region with interests in areas at risk of flooding were fully aware of the proposed works and to understand opportunities for partnership working and funding bids.

Chairing the meeting, the Alde and Ore Estuary Partnership’s Alison Andrews said, “We were delighted that the utility companies attended with such a positive attitude to listen, collaborate and share ideas and plans. We now have a plan to move forward with the team from the Coastal Partnership East to keep the momentum of collaboration going, which is the only way that we can all benefit from the resilience we need to build to avoid the disastrous floods of 1953 hitting the region again. We thank the Minister for her time and contribution and wish her congratulations on her new role as Work and Pensions Secretary.”

After the meeting, Dr Coffey said, “I was delighted to bring together key figures from the Alde and Ore Estuary Partnership, and the utility companies with infrastructure in the area. The community and local land owners are really engaged in how best to protect this amazing area from flooding. I thought we had a good discussion on how to work with large companies with key infrastructure assets. I was pleased such senior executives attended and I am confident that further detailed discussions will follow.”

The Partnership ask that if you value this very special place and want to help protect the economy and all the wonderful amenities on offer in the estuary, please help by making a donation or giving your time to support us via the Trust website www.aoet.org.uk. For more information about the Estuary Plan, please visit the Partnership website at www.aoep.co.uk

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