Multi-Partnered Project to Deliver a £40.3m Tidal Defence Scheme for Great Yarmouth

We are excited to announce our involvement in the major coastal defence project at Great Yarmouth, east of England. The project is part of a long running strategy for the Environment Agency, of which this is the second of five Epochs, centred around improving the towns flood defences, repairing and thus increasing the level of protection.

In many locations the quays that support the flood defence walls are corroded and need refurbishing. By taking a targeted approach and maximising the lifespan of the existing assets, rather than replacing with new assets, the project team has been able to work within the Environment Agency’s budget constraints to meet the flood protection requirements and sustainability goals. The works will also include new walls set back from the river frontage and extending the height of some of the existing walls.

JBA Bentley were awarded the design and construction contract in February 2019 and construction started on site in September 2019 and will cover approximately 4km of flood defences, separated into 21 work packages. The construction is expected to conclude summer 2021.

Why is this important for Great Yarmouth?

The threat of flooding has been dangerously increased by climate change. Great Yarmouth is occupied by the rivers Yare and Bure which connects to the Norfolk Broads. The town has a history of flooding, recording floods in 1953, 1978, 2007 and 2013. The most catastrophic flooding was recorded in 1953, where the flood defences failed and sadly ten people lost their lives.

The project aims to innovate the flood defences and strengthen the protection for more than 4,500 homes and business in Great Yarmouth. Reducing the risk of tidal flooding to resident’s homes, businesses and surrounding infrastructure.

The UK Environment Minister Rebecca Pow quoted that “the work to shore up the town’s defences, will provide protection to the town for decades to come”

 Industry Europe, 13 January 2020

In addition, the flood defences will also support the economic growth and development of Great Yarmouth with the potential to support 34,000 jobs and £1.5 billion to the economy.

Who’s involved?

The project is a multi-partner project led by the Environment Agency, our joint venture JBA Bentley is excited to be appointed the main contractor. Their services on the project will cover early contractor involvement, specialist design, environmental and ecological guidance, and civil engineering construction.

We asked Helen Roberts at JBA Bentley to give us an update:

“We’re excited to be leading on the design and construction of the next phase of this innovative tidal defence project, that will transform the flood resilience of Great Yarmouth over the coming years. We have been working in partnership with the Environment Agency, Jacobs and BAM Nuttall for over two years to develop an economically viable solution, our role being to take this from the option development stage through to delivery on site by April 2021. Works started on site in September 2019 and as of January 2020 we have 5 teams working in parallel in different parts of Great Yarmouth to make this a reality.”

The construction will cost £40.3 million, with a further £6.2 million required for recurring maintenance and preservation of the defences. The Primary source of funding has been provided by the central government through the Flood & Coastal Risk Management Grant. The remainder of the funds have been acquired through partnership contributions including:

• New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP)- £8.2 million from its Growth Deal with government (supporting the local economy and future growth)
• Department for the Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra) regeneration and growth fund – £5.4 million.
• Anglian Eastern Regional Flood & Coastal Committee (RFCC) – £2.8 million of Local Levy
• Norfolk County Council – £950k
• Great Yarmouth Borough – £50k
• The quayside owners and operators are also supporting the project.

Want to know more?

You can find out more details about this project on the Great Yarmouth Tidal Defence project website. 

JBA-Bentley is a joint venture between JN Bentley and Jeremy Benn Associates (JBA), established in 2013. The partnership brings together the specialist skills and expertise of the two firms: JN Bentley as a civil engineering contractor, and us (JBA) as a water and environmental consultant and designer.

For more information on our coastal engineering services visit our web pages.

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