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Letter from Environment Agency to Therese Coffey MP

Thérèse Coffey MP


Our ref: AMC/2020/8606

Your ref TC97191

Date: 27 October 2020

Dear Thérèse,

Road failure B1127

Thank you for your email of 23 October 2020.

We have been managing the main river outfall to the sea at Easton Broad for several

decades by the use of plant excavating the beach, channel and outfall. Machinery, for this

purpose, has been permanently located at this site. This section of coast, which is otherwise

undefended, has been subjected to ongoing average coastal erosion of a rate 2 to 3 metres

per year.

Recent coastal weather events have resulted in a spike in erosion rates which has rendered

the Easton Broad outfall infrastructure inoperable due to exposure by outflanking. During

the normal operation of the outfall structure the B1127 road and the marshes were subjected

to frequent flooding for periods of time during winter months. The loss of the structure has

led to increased duration of flood events which has had an impact on road users and may

eventually impact the designated features of the site upstream of Potters Bridge. No homes

or properties are located within the floodable area.

We manage this site to help control water levels on Easton Broad as consistent levels are

critical to the status of the protected environmental features of the site which are principally

breeding birds in the spring and summer months from February onwards. We appreciate the

work also benefits the road by reducing the length of time water is on the road. However, the

road will still be regularly subject to fresh and seawater flooding as it is low lying and

undefended. Any measures necessary to manage the road are the responsibility of Suffolk

County Council Highways. This includes maintenance and signage along with any decisions

that need to be made on the future of the road. We have had several discussions on this.

We are currently on site and have successfully drained the site through the construction of

an outflow over the beach. The marshes are drained and the road is currently dry. We have

placed temporary warning signs for beach users advising them that passage past Easton

Broad may not be possible. In the near future we plan to construct a footbridge over the

channel (subject to consents) to reinstate full access over the site during times when the site

is draining. We will also remove the old, redundant outfall which is now on the beach. We

will continue to maintain the outflow for the foreseeable future

Bromholme Lane, Brampton, Huntingdonshire, PE28 4NE or Iceni House, Cobham Road, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP3 9JDWe worked closely with Natural England to ensure that we comply with the relevant conservation legislation. To date we have successfully compensated for all the protectedfeatures on Easton Marsh seaward of Potters Bridge. We continue to work closely with Natural England to find the best way forward for the remainder of the site considering its vulnerability to flooding and coastal change. This will mean that our work to drain the lower Easton Broad area is likely to cease at some point in the near future. We encourage all interested parties, including Suffolk County Highways, to work together to consider options for the medium term future of the road. We will of course be happy to advise partners on matters relating to flooding and coastal change. Any assistance you can offer in bringing parties together with this would be appreciated.

I trust this has answered the matters raised to your satisfaction. If I can be of further help in

this, please do contact me.

Yours sincerely

Simon Hawkins

Area Director

East Anglia Area

Tel: 02030 255472

Email: areamanagercorrespondence.eastanglia@environment-agency.gov.uk

Bromholme Lane, Brampton, Huntingdonshire, PE28 4NE or Iceni House, Cobham Road, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP3 9JD

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