The project involves establishing protection infrastructure for the Broads National Park that mostly comprises rivers and lakes in the counties of Norfolk and Suffolk. Being UK's largest protected wetlands, Broads is a region of high importance that needs to be protected. The flood protection infrastructure includes massive defense upgrades that will keep the regions adjacent to Rivers Yare, Bure and Waveney (and their streams) safe.
Broadland is a 220 square kilometers region that lies below the water level. It includes wetlands, fens and marshes but also major infrastructure such as roads and railways. Its riverside currently addresses severe flooding problems that will be further exacerbated in the future as sea-level rise will increase. Extensive flooding would result in infrastructure and financial damage in the region affecting agriculture, fishing, boating and trading. The area has faced severe flooding incidents in the past, especially during the past 20 years (2006, 2007, 2013 and 2015). Occasional flooding incidents have occurred but most of them have affected the agricultural lands.
The project was completed at a cost of approximately $194 million and will potentially protect numerous houses and vital infrastructure. In particular, 1,700 properties and 5 communities that were previously vulnerable to flooding are now protected, 240 kilometers of flood banks have been upgraded, 36 kilometers of banks have been relocated inland and works to ensure the safety of A47, a roadway linking Birmingham to Lowestoft, Suffolk and of Norwich/Great Yarmouth/Lowestoft railway lines have been implemented. Additionally, 240 square kilometers of agricultural land and 28 sites of special scientific interest are now under less hazard of floodwaters. Finally, a network of electric cables stretching for more than 3 kilometers has been moved underground.
The project also involves an environmental benefit. By using reclaimed materials of steel and timber piles, the contractors managed to reduce its carbon footprint.
The safety measures come at a time when the predictions of flood risk in the area of interest are pessimistic. Climate Central, a US-based organization, suggests that the area could be struck by coastal floods in the next 30 years. Hence, a large part of Norfolk could be submerged underwater on a regular basis. Nonetheless, UK's Environmental Agency does not support the exorbitance of this prediction model suggesting that it is "useful to prompt discussion around the impacts of sea-level rise" but is "inaccurate and unsuitable to inform local coastal flood risk."