‘We need action now’: Flood hit Broads business backs river barrier calls

George Elliott, owner of Ludham Bridge Boatyard, which is flooding continually. Picture: DENISE BRAD

George Elliott, owner of Ludham Bridge Boatyard, which is flooding continually. - Credit: Denise Bradley

A flood hit boat hire and repair business has backed drastic measures to protect the Broads from the effects of climate change.

Ludham Bridge Boat Yard is experiencing more flooding than at any time in George Elliott’s 22 years in charge. 

The increased high waters has seen him forced to put wooden planks down to act as walkways over near constant winter flood waters, and to move plug sockets to the ceiling.

Flooding around Ludham Boat Yard in Great Yarmouth following high spring tides. Photo: George Elliot

Flooding around Ludham Boat Yard following high tides. - Credit: George Elliot

Mr Elliott, who is also a senior flood warden, is urging representatives from the Environment Agency and Broads Authority to visit his business which he says offers a glimpse of the changes about to radically change the Broads.

“We are experiencing these changes to the Broads now,” he said. 

George Elliott, owner of Ludham Bridge Boatyard, in the yard which is flooding continually. Picture:

George Elliott, owner of Ludham Bridge Boatyard and senior flood warden, who has called for more urgent action to address impact of climate change on Broads.  - Credit: Denise Bradley

His call to action comes as an influential group said measures including a flood barrier across the river at Great Yarmouth are needed to protect waterways.

The Broads Society, which was set up to secure the future of the Broads, declared a 'climate emergency' for the river network at its recent AGM.

It said a major new network of Dutch-style drainage dykes should also be considered to protect against the impact of rising sea levels.

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“This is the biggest issue and we need to do something,” said Mr Elliott. “The Environment Agency and Broads Authority cannot just sit on their hands because if not we are not going to have the Broads, we are not going to have businesses.

“The rivers will be compromised so we have got to act soon before it is too late because if we don’t act within the next five years it could be irreversible.”

He has called for better management to help ease flood risks on rivers like the Ant where his boatyard is based.

Ludham Bridge Boatyard which is flooding continually. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Ludham Bridge Boatyard which is flooding continually.  - Credit: Denise Bradley

“There needs to be a proper dredging program like there used to be. Everyone needs to be on the same page over digging and dredging dykes because people pay a contributor factor towards the cost, we also need reservoirs to store water,” he said. 

Last year the Broads Authority said two areas of the Ant had been dredged in the last five years while 26,000 cubic metres of sediment had been removed from the Bure, which the Ant feeds, between 2016 and 2019.