A major flooding scheme is under way in an area of the Norfolk Broads particularly badly hit by recent extreme high water levels.

The Broads Internal Drainage Board is replacing 13 pumps in the River Thurne catchment area, which will form an integral part of its flood defences.

These new pumps will be installed at places including Potter Heigham, Repps Staithe, Horsey and near to Hickling.

The Thurne area has been among the worst hit this winter by flooding. In Hickling, villagers have been unable to flush their toilets because of the high water levels while farm animals have had to be moved from grazing areas.Eastern Daily Press: A visual impression of the proposed replacement pumping station at HorseyA visual impression of the proposed replacement pumping station at Horsey (Image: Broads IDB)

The new equipment will replace the existing 70-year-old pumps and the Broads IDB say it will help increase efficiency and maintain stable water levels.

Designs will use the latest 'fish-friendly' technology and construction work is scheduled to begin in spring 2025.

Eastern Daily Press: A side-view of the pump stationsA side-view of the pump stations (Image: Broads IDB)

The replacement pumping stations will be located at Brograve, Stubb, Catfield, Horse Fen, Horsey, Martham, Heigham Holmes, Potter Heigham, Repps Staithe, Somerton North, Somerton South, St Benets and Thurne.

According to a report, the move is part of the IDB's efforts to ensure "future resilience and adaptability" to climate change.

But local farmers worry more needs to be done to prepare for the more extreme weather conditions that are causing the flooding issues.

Eastern Daily Press: Cattle farmer Peter Gardiner, who has been hit badly by the floodsCattle farmer Peter Gardiner, who has been hit badly by the floods (Image: Denise Bradley)

Peter Gardiner, a cattle farmer who has suffered the worst flooding of his lifetime, is facing difficult decisions over the future of his herd after his grazing marshes have been left waterlogged for several weeks.

"If we can't find other fields, we will have to sell some of our cattle.

"Upgrading the pumps will help but this isn't going to solve the problem.

"There is no argument that climate change and rising sea levels are the cause and this will continue to happen due to the more extreme weather we are having. 

"This year the pumps couldn't keep up and the water is not draining out to sea due to the perfect combination of high tides and heavy rainfall causing a locking effect."

Eastern Daily Press: The pumping station at Horsey will be replacedThe pumping station at Horsey will be replaced (Image: Archant)

Paul Rice, Broads flood warden, has been monitoring the situation in the River Thurne catchment area non-stop for more than 120 days since October due to the persistent flood alerts in place.

Flood barriers have remained in place throughout the winter and the issues show no sign of abating, with new alerts coming into force for the area this week.

"It is unprecedented. We need to be looking for long-term solutions for the future."

Both have called for improvements to the flood defences and maintenance of the rivers and waterways in the Broads.

Eastern Daily Press: High water levels and flooding at HicklingHigh water levels and flooding at Hickling (Image: Mike Page)



Thousands of households in the Norfolk Broads have suffered relentless flooding problems this winter.

The Thurne villages of Potter Heigham, Hickling and Martham have all faced swamped roads, toilets backed up with sewage and farm under water.

It has been described as a crisis and it has prompted public meetings to discuss what can be done.

The problems are being caused partly by the natural tide-locking effect, where tidal water moving up the rivers from Great Yarmouth restricts the normal drainage out to sea at low tide.

Eastern Daily Press: The Third River Crossing in Great Yarmouth, also known as the Herring BridgeThe Third River Crossing in Great Yarmouth, also known as the Herring Bridge (Image: Mike Page)

There have also been claims that the new river crossing in Great Yarmouth, called Herring Bridge, could be contributing to the widespread Broads flooding.

Critics have suggested that the abutments for the new bridge are restricting the volume of water that can drain from the waterways, causing problems further upstream.

The structure has reduced the width of the River Yare by more than a third, from 89 metres to 55 metres.