Project which could stop repeat of Christmas flooding given £8,000

The team at Norfolk and Suffolk's River Waveney Trust

River Waveney Trust development manager Martha Meek and catchment officer Emily Winter, at a potential site for wetland creation. - Credit: River Waveney Trust

A community group has been given thousands of pounds for work it hopes will stop flooding which saw families evacuated from their homes last Christmas.

The River Waveney Trust has been awarded £8,000 in National Lottery funding for a project to stop severe flooding in Norfolk and Suffolk. 

It hopes the programme will eventually see it introduce flood prevention measures such as tree planting, flood plain reconnection, wetland creation and a network of log dams.

The strategies are all designed to slow down the time it takes for water to find its way down the Waveney Valley and into the river.

Severe flooding has become a threat for people living along the River Waveney, with burst banks last Christmas forcing families to evacuate over the festive period.

Martha Meek, development manager at the trust, said: "The grant is really critical to us as it allows us to show people what’s possible and the effective measures that can be taken to reduce localised flooding.

"I would like to say a huge thank you to The National Lottery Community Fund and National Lottery players for helping us move forward with our plans, which we believe have the potential to make a huge difference to local communities, as well as contribute to the wider fight against climate change.”

Many of the issues at Christmas centred around the Waveney area, with flash floods and downpours leaving fields submerged and homes flooded.

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Long Stratton and Harleston were among the worst-hit, while Bungay bore the brunt of the damage. 

Research from the National Lottery Community Fund showed that 51pc of people in the east of England were worried about how climate change would affect their local community.

Across the region, two in five (39pc) said the pandemic had made the importance of addressing climate change personally more important to them.

Nick Gardner, head of climate action at The National Lottery Community Fund, said: “As COP26 begins and global climate change negotiations are under the world’s spotlight, it is encouraging to see that communities are also taking action locally. Our research clearly shows that communities are not only concerned about the climate emergency, but that they want to play their part in tackling it."