Around 150 homes in a North Lincolnshire village have been protected from tidal surges and sea level rises after work finished on a £14m flood defence scheme.
The major investment in South Ferriby also protects 3,000 hectares of agricultural land and vital infrastructure, including the A1077 and the Scunthorpe to Grimsby railway line, which carries 20% of the UK’s freight.
It is estimated the work will prevent £248m of potential economic damage over lifespan of the defences.
The project stated in April 2019 and has seen around 3km of new and raised defences built between Ferriby Sluice and South Ferriby village, including embankments, flood walls, de-mountable barriers and flood gates.
The 13-metre flood gates slide across the A1077, closing in 15 minutes, and are the first of their kind in the country to operate across an A-road.
The scheme was completed this summer is being officially by Environment Agency chief executive Sir James Bevan today.
The new defences are now higher than the water level seen in the devastating tidal surge of December 2013. That means local communities are now protected from a similar event.
The height also takes account of climate change predictions up to the 2050s.
Kate Halka, operations manager for the Environment Agency, said: “This marks an important milestone for the community. 150 properties, vast areas of agricultural land, and key infrastructure on which local people and the economy depend are now better protected from tidal flooding and sea level rise.
“We understand the devastation and heartache flooding brings, and have worked tirelessly with our partners to bring this scheme to South Ferriby.
“Of course, it’s impossible to completely eliminate the risk of flooding – people should always make sure they plan for the worst and sign up to receive warnings – but we can manage that risk, as we have here.
“The results will benefit people, properties, livelihoods, the environment and the economy for years to come.”
Further work is now under way to install ‘property flood resilience’ measures to around 20 homes in Winteringham.
Low-lying communities along the Humber are at risk of tidal flooding and sea level rise, with South Ferriby experiencing significant flooding in 1953 and 1987. But it was in 2013 that the most recent event hit, when the most severe tidal surge in 60 years struck the east coast of Britain.
The resulting flooding affected 129 properties in South Ferriby and 13 in Winteringham, alongside 1,000 hectares of agricultural land that took at least six years to recover. A main route – the A1077 – was closed for four days and the CEMEX cement plant was put out of action for a year. The damage is thought to have cost the economy £50bn.
Councillor Sara Haddon, chairman of the South Ferriby Parish Council Flood Protection Committee, said: “Residents of South Ferriby Sluice are delighted that the new defences are now complete. Memories of the 2013 floods are still raw and the new defences mean that they can sleep easy as we approach the coming winter.”