Beccles Flood Risk Management Project Information Page

Closes 31 Jan 2025

Opened 17 Nov 2022


Welcome to the Beccles Flood Risk Management Project information page.

The Environment Agency have created this page to provide easy access to information on the Beccles project. We will be updating this site as the project progresses, so please keep checking back for new information.

If you would like to be added to our mailing list to receive updates on this project, please email

Last updated 18/01/2024


There is a history of flooding from the River Waveney in Beccles. Flooding has historically occurred at  Beccles Quay, Fen Lane, Bridge Street, and at the properties adjacent to the river off Northgate, Puddingmoor and Gillingham Dam. Flooding has been reported in August 1912, 1953, 1968, November 2006, March 2013, December 2013, October 2014, December 2020 and more recently as a result of Storm Babet and Storm Ciaran in October and November 2023 and due to high tides in December 2023.

We are also aware of surface water flooding issues elsewhere in Beccles. This is being investigated by Suffolk County Council as the Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA).

December 2020 Flood Event

In December 2020 East Anglia received an exceptionally high amount of rainfall, the River Waveney area received 50mm in 18 hours, and a total of 71mm in 96 hours.

Between the 24 and 29 December 2020 flooding occurred in Beccles at The Quay, Fen Lane, Bridge Street and to some of the properties off Northgate, Puddingmoor and Gillingham Dam. 17 properties reported experiencing internal flooding with an additional 10 reports of external flooding.

Flooding occurred from a combination of sources including from the river, surface water run off and through the ground. Heavy rainfall meant the ground was saturated and river levels in the Waveney were high. This affected properties that back onto the river off Northgate and Puddingmoor. The period of flooding was sustained due to the natural tide locking effect of high spring tides on the Broads river system, which prevented the river from draining out to sea. Seepage through the flood boards and walls at Fen Lane occurred, while surface water run off flowing to Fen Lane was also unable to drain away. Water was also reported coming up through the drains on Fen Lane, Bridge Street and at properties off Northgate and Puddingmoor.  Reports of water coming up through the ground and via service ducts were also received.

Broadland Futures Initiative

The Beccles project is being developed alongside the Broadlands Futures Initiative (BFI). This initiative is looking to come up with a strategy for managing flood risk across the Broadland area over the next 100 years from the mid- 2020s. This is being led by the Broads Authority in partnership with the Environment Agency and others. Further information on the BFI and its progress can be found here:

Public consultation and information dissemination are taking place at various stages of the BFI development.  We would encourage anyone with an interest in this to contact the BFI team using the details shown on the website and asking to be added to the contact list.

What's happened so far

In 2019 the Environment Agency undertook an “Initial Assessment” of flood risk in Beccles to better understand the risk and consider what could be done to help reduce flood risk. This report came up with a number of potential ways to improve the management of flood risk in Beccles.


Following the flooding in December 2020 we have been working with our partners in flood risk management to understand what happened and resolve any immediate issues. We have been working closely with Beccles Town Council, Suffolk County Council, Suffolk Highways, East Suffolk Council, Anglian Water, the Internal Drainage Board and Suffolk emergency planners. Please refer to the fact sheets available at the bottom of this page for more information on this work.

We have also been working with our flood risk consultants, Jacobs, to develop previous work and produce a Strategic Outline Business Case. 

The business case identified and assessed a list of options which could help manage flood risk from all sources of flooding in Beccles. We sought your feedback on these options via this website in November 2022. For further details on the options please refer to the Beccles Project Options Briefing 2022 at the bottom of the page. 

Findings of the Strategic Outline Business Case

The Strategic Outline Business Case found there are several options that could be viable. These options provide enough benefit (through economic analysis) when compared to the cost of implementing the option. 

There is an existing flood defence in Beccles consisting of brick and concrete walls, wooden flood boards and a flood gate at access points and slipways. The defences are located at Fen Lane and the Beccles Lido off Puddingmoor as shown in the map below:

The viable options include retaining the existing flood wall at The Quay/Fen Lane but installing a new wall or embankment at the Loaves & Fishes Public House.​

​The existing wooden flood boards would be replaced with alternatives such as, aluminium flood boards​, ramps​ or flood gates. Where access points are no longer needed they could be permanently closed off.

The surface water penstocks would also be fitted with non-return valves to reduce the need for human intervention​.

Property Flood Resilience Measures would also be required for properties that do not benefit from the flood walls.​

Next Steps

The project is now progressing to assess the viable options in more detail. In order to do this we will be refining the existing hydraulic modelling for the River Waveney and working closely with Suffolk County Council to undertake detailed surface water modelling.

This information will inform the business case and help quantify the benefit each option will provide so we can reach a preferred solution and finalise the business case. We are keen to get your input on the refined options. Please keep checking the Citizen Space website page for the latest information.

Other Updates

Surface Water Management Plan

Alongside this project Suffolk County Council are reviewing the Surface Water Management Plan for Beccles & Worlingham, with updated hydraulic modelling to take account of recent flood data. Some measures were completed last year in Worlingham to address surface water flooding and the updated modelling will inform any further viable options to reduce the risk of flooding caused by surface water flooding.

Surface Water Drains

Suffolk Highways identified a surface water outfall adjacent at Bridge Street was not isolated from the River Waveney. This meant river water was able to enter the drains and flood the road. Suffolk Highways installed a non-return valve in the outfall in February 2023. This means surface water can drain to the river but river water cannot enter the drainage system.

Temporary Pump Arrangements

East Suffolk Council and Waveney Norse (now East Suffolk Services), with support from the Environment Agency, set up a procedure for the deployment of a temporary pump to help alleviate flooding at Fen Lane.  This procedure is still in place.

Community Engagement

We are working in collaboration with Beccles Town Council to meet with residents to discuss flooding from the River Waveney. If you would like to be more involved in these discussions, please contact Beccles Town Council via email: or telephone: 01502 712109 for more information.

Important numbers and contacts

Incident Hotline – to report blockages or areas of concern and flooding

0800 80 70 60

Check any current warnings and latest river, sea groundwater and rainfall levels:

If you would like to find out more about preparing for flooding, please visit: Prepare for flooding: Protect yourself from future flooding - GOV.UK (

Consider flood products to reduce the impact of flooding:


  • Recreational and commercial river users
  • Fishing clubs and representative associations
  • Members of the public with an interest in the river, the species and conservation
  • Businesses
  • Charities
  • Statutory organisations
  • NGOs
  • Members of the public
  • Elected representatives, including MPs
  • Local councils
  • Academics
  • All water abstractors
  • Environment Agency customers
  • IDBs
  • Local authorities
  • District and parish councils
  • Environmental bodies
  • Land owners
  • Farming associations
  • Drainage associations
  • RFCCs
  • Elected representatives, including MPs
  • Water companies
  • Members of the public
  • Recreational and commercial river users
  • Community groups
  • Flood action groups
  • Environment Agency colleagues
  • Lead Local Flood Authorities
  • Local Risk Management Authorities
  • Flood Resilience Forums


  • Flood management
  • Habitats and wildlife
  • Specific projects, issues, or activity pages