A Victorian lock, which provides the gateway from the North Sea to the Suffolk Broads, has been repaired at a cost of £80,000
Three months on from the wettest winter on record, the Broad Authority has announced that one of its most important locks has been fully repaired.
Mutford lock at Lowestoft was severely damaged during the winter storms, with a tidal surge damaging the lock-gate winding mechanism and putting the hydraulic systems out of action.
Situated at the mouth of the Suffolk Broads, the Victorian lock is the gateway for visitors arriving from the North Sea.
Following the flood damage, staff at Oulton Broad Yacht Station and Holman Marine were called upon to operate the lock manually, leading to significant delays and a build-up of sediment.
However, the replacement hydraulic system has been put in place, just in time for the peak season, thanks to work by local contractor LEC Marine (Klyne) Ltd.
The £80,000 project was completely funded by Defra, with the government acknowledging that every pound spent on the national parks and broads is repaid four-fold by local tourism benefits.
Lord de Mauley, the environment minister, said: “The Broads are the jewel in the crown of our precious natural environment – this investment will ensure they remain so.”
The flood damage brought forward some overdue renovation work, much to the relief of Broads Authority engineer Tom Hunter.
“The old system has been troublesome for several years. Some of the parts were obsolete and not designed for easy maintenance,” he admitted.
The new system is expected to be more resistant to future flooding, and minimise future costs and downtime.
John Packman, chief executive of the Broads Authority, added: “I am delighted that this important gateway to the Broads is fully operational again for the thousands of boats which go through it every year.”
Boat owners looking to pass through Mutford lock are advised to call ahead to Oulton Broad Yacht Station on 01502 574946 or VHF channel 73.