New £14m Grimsby Docks flood defence project could bring jobs
A £14.5 million scheme to improve flood defences on Grimsby Docks has been heralded as "excellent news" by those who hope it will attract further investment to the area – bringing new jobs with it.
As revealed on www.thisisgrimsby.co.uk, Environment Secretary Owen Patterson announced work on the two-year scheme would start this summer, with the aim of protecting 14,000 properties in the area.
In the first works to be undertaken since the early 1980s, improvements will be made to 3,500 metres of sea defences, with larger concrete wave walls, steel piles and earth embankments being installed.
The project will be led by the Environment Agency, in partnership with Associated British Ports (ABP) – which will make an undisclosed funding contribution – and North East Lincolnshire Council (NELC).
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This will be followed by further works to renew defences along Cleethorpes North Promenade – although detailed plans and a timescale is yet to be set.
The move has been welcomed as an additional means of enticing new business to the area – particularly in the offshore wind farm and wind turbine support sector.
NELC's head of development, Jason Longhurst, said: "Now that (Danish wind farm giants) Dong Energy are considering how and why they should invest in this part of Grimsby, this Environment Agency news just confirms that the infrastructure is going to be sound."
He added the defences would also increase the safety of existing housing and, potentially, open up new areas for housing, bringing further jobs and investment into the area.
John Fitzgerald, port director for ABP, added: "Our continued multi-million-pound investment in the development of our Humber ports creates vital local jobs and prosperity for Grimsby, but we are also investing to sustain our town's environment and enhance protection afforded to local homes and businesses."
The move is part of a £294 million national drive to invest in flood risk management this year, which aims to provide better protection for 165,000 homes by 2015 – 20,000 more than the current goal.
A spokesman for the Environment Agency said: "The existing Grimsby defences are a combination of earth banks, quay walls and dock gates and various concrete structures.
"The existing defences need improving and we need to address the challenges of rising sea levels.
"We will be topping up earth banks and replacing some of the other older structures with new concrete walls similar to the ones which have been used at Cleethorpes.
"We are working with ABP and its tenants to ensure there is minimum disruption."
THE news of millions of pounds being pumped into flood defence work is great for the docks and North East Lincolnshire as a whole.
As this area moves forward it needs to make the most of its natural assets – its biggest one being the estuary on which it sits.
The water is what made Grimsby great and it is what will provide its rebirth – as long as we all get it right.
And, with the news over the last few days, it looks like that may just be happening.
We had the story about Dong Energy yesterday, cementing further our position at the heart of the offshore energy business when it comes to operation and maintenance.
And today we read how the powers that be have recognised the need to improve infrastructure to ensure a workable future for the land in and around the dock area.
Such work is of vital importance for two very big reasons.
Obviously, it will protect the area from any future flooding risk.
But it also sends out a very important message to other potential investors that this is a place where money is being spent and where organisations are being pro-active in their attempt to secure and encourage new business.
Confidence is everything and such investment allows that confidence to grow.
So well done to all involved and let us hope that this sparks even more fresh opportunity.
*Follow the editor on Twitter @michellelalor