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Capita Symonds Assesses Great Yarmouth Flood Risk

3 November 2009

Great Yarmouth

Capita Symonds’ Flood team have unveiled a new planning blueprint which shows that the flood risk in low-lying areas of Great Yarmouth is not as bad as once feared.

The latest strategic flood risk document will help council planners give the go-ahead to new regeneration schemes that were previously thought impossible, as well as helping re-shape the area's emergency response to flooding.

Local councillor Mick Castle said: “We need to reflect the new flood maps in how we deal with flood readiness. Last time out, two years ago, the police tried to evacuate 10,000 people between Beatty Road and the Pleasure Beach. What I am asking the council to do is review the plans. It is a waste of money and resources to evacuate people who are not at risk and to give them sandbags when they do not need them. We need a realistic assessment of the flood risk.”

“Once the planning department starts using this map, people that might have been having difficulty with flood risk might find things easier. It is very good news for the Urban Regeneration Company and for people in Yarmouth who were probably very anxious. I would say it is a page-turning moment in terms of what we understand about how flooding affects Yarmouth and allows us to be more vocal about calling for defences,” he adds.

The crucial document includes around 250 images mapping a variety of both likely and improbable scenarios and has been a year in the making.

Sarah Slade, senior policy planner at Yarmouth Borough Council, said a computer modelling system had been used to predict the impact of flood events and to add an extra layer of detail to the current Environment Agency maps.

It was this more detailed approach differentiating between high and low risk zones and taking account of climate change that had created an apparently improved picture, she added. The information could also be used by insurers to more accurately assess flood risk and premiums, possibly helping some households who struggle to find cover.

The new, more detailed, strategic maps modelled using local information are said to give a better picture of what might happen than Environment Agency maps which do not take into account defences and show the maximum consequences of an extreme flood outline.

Peter Warner, head of planning policy at Yarmouth Borough Council said the flood risk appeared reduced according to the new plan, but that the issue was complicated and still being interpreted. “We are still working out the implications, it is early days yet,” he added.

The maps can be seen on Great Yarmouth Borough Council's website