Leaders of all the agencies working to reduce the risk and impact of flooding have welcomed Government investment of up to £13 million for works as part of Somerset Flood Action Plan. The planned works include increasing the capacity of the Sowy, land management and further dredging.
The money is part of the Growth Fund and has been awarded to the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) – £3.55m has been awarded for flooding alleviation works in 2015/16, and a further £9.5m for future years.
At its meeting (on Monday) the Leaders Implementation Group, which drives the work on the Levels and Moors Flood Action Plan, said that the money will make a big difference and is a significant step forward.
“Much of the work set out in the plan has yet to be funded so this is great news,” said Councillor John Osman, Chair of the Leaders Implementation Group and Leader of Somerset County Council.
“Without the money we cannot make the plan a reality and this considerable sum will allow many things to move forward. The actions in the plan cannot stop flooding, but they can reduce the frequency, duration and severity of flooding and we want to drive the work forwards as soon as we can.”
The Flood Action Plan is being delivered by a range of agencies coordinated by Somerset County Council. It will guide water and land management policies and investment on the Levels and Moors for the next 20 years.
The work underway includes:
- Dredging and river management – there are six dredging teams at work, some seven days a week, and the programme is on target to be completed by October.
- Infrastructure projects – work is progressing on plans for a ring bank at Thorney, road raising at Muchelney and work to improve the capacity of water flow under the A372 at Beer Wall.
- The proposed Parrett sluice – a workshop was held recently to review options with further design and feasibility work commissioned.
Press Release, July 9, 2014