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A city councillor has expressed frustration at a failure to maintain a flood-prone road’s maintenance schedule, potentially leading to the loss of vital habitat.

Potter’s Bridge on the B1127 near Southwold was recently briefly flooded after the Easton Broad river level rose too high due to heavy rainfall.

A multi-agency agreement in February set out a roadmap for the responsibilities of different groups to ensure road safety and protect wildlife, including keeping a drain clear for wastewater to flow into the sea.

David Beavan, deputy leader of East Suffolk Council, has expressed his frustration at the failure to meet the timetable for Potter’s Bridge on the B1127 near Southwold. Image: Submitted

David Beavan, deputy leader of East Suffolk Council, recently urged landowners and the Environment Agency to clear the sewer.

However, this has not happened and the beach has now broken up, taking with it important reed beds. Councillor Beavan fears that there will be no nesting bitterns this year as a result.

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“It’s getting ridiculous,” he said. “The Environment Agency keeps asking landowners to dig it up.”

Cllr Beavam said inaction at Potter’s Bridge on the B1127 near Southwold could mean there are no nesting bitterns on the Easton Broad this year. Image: Submitted

“When a breach occurs, the water level drops by one metre; the nests are just above the water level and are flooded. Therefore, there are no bitterns or wildlife.

“We risk damaging people’s cars as well. So it’s the worst of both worlds.”

Councillor Beavan said that Easton Broad was one of the most important reed habitats in the region, which in turn promoted tourism in the area, and that the relevant authorities must abide by the agreement.

Cllr Beavan said the drain at Potter’s Bridge on the B1127 near Southwold should have been cleared earlier to avoid such a dramatic break. Image: Environment Agency

He added that the situation was not all negative as Suffolk Highways had successfully managed the area to ensure drainage of the site.

A spokesman said: “Suffolk Highways has recently cleared the ditches and restored the verge drainage pipes to allow surface water to drain from the road into the ditch.

“We will continue to work with the Environment Agency to resolve any further issues that may arise.”

The outlet should be maintained at a safe level, however the outflow is blocked by the tide on the beach, which fills the outlet and floods the road.

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This dissolves when the wide fractures flow into the sea.

An Environment Agency spokesman said: “At the time of writing, the beach at Easton is breached and the broad area is affected by tides. No remedial work is currently required.”

“A permit for flood risk activities has been issued to landowners who have volunteered to carry out canal clearance work if required.

“We continue to support Suffolk County Council with technical advice and guidance on managing flood risk for the motorway and work closely with Natural England on Easton Broad.”

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