Broadland flood alleviation


Duration:20 years

Cost:£117.6m over 20 years

Country: Norfolk, UK

What did this project achieve?


Upgrade flood defences across a large area covering Norfolk and Suffolk

This 20 year project covers 30,000 hectares of environmentally and economically sensitive land in the east of England.

This project has provided sustainable and affordable, long-term flood defences for rural communities.

It has also meant protection and improvement of habitat for rare and endangered species and protection for some of the most productive farmland in the UK.

This aerial view shows the scale of the works area

This aerial view shows the scale of the works area

Project achievements and benefits

The project upgraded over 240km of flood bank with re-used and reclaimed materials with 10km of ‘hard’ edges replaced with reed banks and lagoons.

Over 3km of overhead electric cables are now underground – improving the landscape and making the area safer for farmers and anglers.

For boaters, there are enhanced mooring facilities, improved navigation of channels and new slipways.

For anglers there are new platforms as well as for everyone to enjoy the area, 100km of upgraded footpaths.

Protection is now in place for:


  • 30,000 hectares of land including 21,000 hectares of farmland.
  • 1,700 properties, including 1,000 homes (5 communities are protected for the first time).
  • The A47 and Norwich to Great Yarmouth/Lowestoft rail line.
  • Internationally important wetlands, including: 28 Sites of Special Scientific Interest, the Broads Special Area of Conservation, Broadland Special Protection Area, Ramsar site of designated international importance.

Fascinating facts

Two Iron Age causeways, a rare Saxon canoe and a Roman coin hoard are just some of the archaeological finds during the works.

60% of the project area is below sea level.

Project works take up just 3% of the area they protect.

Over 100 adders relocated from the works area.

People who made it happen

  • Client: Environment Agency
  • Contractor: Broadland Environmental Services (BESL), a BAM Nuttall and CH2M consortium
  • Natural England
  • Broads Authority
  • RSPB, Norfolk Wildlife Trust, Suffolk Wildlife Trust, Norfolk and Suffolk Boating Association, over 100 land owners, Norfolk County Council

More about this project

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