Remembering last year’s tidal surge

Floodgate holds back the river from flooding the town. Photo: Shan Durrant
Floodgate holds back the river from flooding the town. Photo: Shan Durrant

It’s one year since King’s Lynn suffered the effects of a massive tidal surge.

The anniversary of last December’s events have been marked with the unveiling of a series of plaques indicating the height of the flood waters in King’s Lynn.

The flood plaques are located on the sea defences near King Staithe Lane, Purfleet Place, King Staithe Square, Marriott’s Warehouse and the Millfleet Tidal Barrier.

Since last year’s flooding, £1.2m of government funding has been spent on refurbishing the town’s flood defences.

North West Norfolk MP Henry Bellingham said: “The tidal surge that struck on the 5 December 2013 was incredibly powerful, and tested our defences to the limit. Thankfully they all held up, thus totally vindicating all the investment and commitment on the part of the Environment Agency, the Borough Council and other bodies. It’s fitting and appropriate that 1 year on we should be marking this important event.”

The flood defences in King’s Lynn consist of earth embankments, flood walls, dam boards and over sixty flood gates across the roads and openings. These defences prevented flooding during the most significant tidal surge in 60 years and the highest ever recorded tide level.

Flooding on the Quay: Photo: Shan Durrant
Flooding on the Quay: Photo: Shan Durrant

5 December 2013 was the first time the defences had been properly tested and operated since they were constructed in the 1980s. The defences are all built to a standard of 6.3 meters Above Ordinance Data (AOD) and provide at least a 1 in 200 year standard of protection for King’s Lynn which means that they protect against a flood which has a 1 in 200 chance of happening in any given year.

The Environment Agency’s refurbishment of the King’s Lynn defences means they are in the best condition to defend the town for another 40 years.

Julie Foley, Area Manager for the Environment Agency said, “The Environment Agency is spending £3,000,000 repairing and refurbishing defences along the coastline between King’s Lynn and Hunstanton and the Tidal River Embankments. This will protect 11,000 properties from flooding.”

Local people living in areas at risk are being urged to sign up to the Environment Agency’s free Floodline Warnings Direct service to receive information about flood warnings by phone, text or email. They are also being advised to create their own evacuation plans and look at ways to protect themselves, their possessions and their property by checking the information on the Norfolk Prepared website.”

To sign up for flood warnings visit

To find out more about being prepared for a flood visit

King’s Lynn Flood in Pictures