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Multimillion pound flood defence project launched in Great Yarmouth

Work on a £40m project to upgrade flood defences in Great Yarmouth has begun.

Representatives from the Environment Agency, Government, and local partners came together to mark the start of work on this major scheme aimed at better protecting thousands of homes and businesses from tidal flooding.

The work, which is expected to take a year to complete, will upgrade the level of protection from tidal flooding to more than 4,500 homes and businesses in the local area.

The Environment Agency say the refurbishment works will extend the working life of the existing defences, and the new innovative construction methods being used will significantly reduce the carbon footprint of the project.

Rebecca Pow, who's the Environment Minister, said: "I'm delighted to be here to witness the start of work on this vital project which will see homes and businesses in Great Yarmouth better protected from flooding for decades to come.

"This innovative scheme, which has received over £32m of Government funding and involved refurbishing 4km of flood defence walls across the town, will not only provide greater peace of mind to local residents but will also help secure jobs and boost economic opportunities for the town both now and into the future."

Emma Howard Boyd, who's the Chair of the Environment Agency, added: "This scheme is a prime example of how we are taking a long-term collaborative approach to tackling both the causes and the impacts of the climate emergency, ensuring that communities, homes and infrastructure are more resilient to the additional risks that the future will bring."

The Environment Agency added that Great Yarmouth has a history of flooding, during the 1953 East coast tidal surge, the tidal river defences in the town were breached in several places resulting in a tragic loss of life.

More recently, in December 2013, approximately 9,000 people were urged to evacuate their homes as a result of the highest ever recorded tide in Great Yarmouth.

This refurbishment comes after an intial five-year phase of work which included the use of a specialised dam to inspect and repair the steel sheet piles that form the flood walls.

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