Letter from Environment Agency to Therese Coffey MP
Thérèse Coffey MP
Our ref: AMC/2020/8606
Your ref TC97191
Date: 27 October 2020
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
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.
East Anglia Area
Tel: 02030 255472
Bromholme Lane, Brampton, Huntingdonshire, PE28 4NE or Iceni House, Cobham Road, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP3 9JD