River Parrett Dredging Included in the Plan

A new £2.76 million program of flood works across Somerset has been approved by the Board of Somerset Rivers Authority (SRA).

Following the Board’s annual budget-setting meeting, 28 projects costing £1.703 million will be carried out at hundreds of sites over the coming year and beyond.

Another £1.057 million is being put towards a multi-million pound scheme to improve the River Sowy (also known as the River Parrett Flood Relief Channel) and King’s Sedgemoor Drain on the Somerset Levels.

This scheme will deliver greater benefits than any other single activity in Somerset’s 20 Year Flood Action Plan, which was drawn up during the devastating floods of 2013-14. Those floods submerged 150km² of land, affected 600 homes and 7,000 businesses, closed 81 roads and cost Somerset up to £147.5 million.

Cllr John Osman, Chairman of Somerset Rivers Authority, said: “Every single element of the SRA’s program of works for 2019-20 has been designed to give the people of Somerset greater flood protection and resilience.”

Various kinds of works have been approved because different parts of the county have different needs, and Somerset Rivers Authority allows local people to set their own priorities,” he added.

The program also includes River Parrett dredging scheme, to take place between Oath and Burrowbridge.

According to the SRA, computer hydraulic modelling indicates that dredging between Oath and Burrowbridge will reduce flood risks to just over 40 square miles of land in the Parrett catchment, and benefit 200 properties.

Dredging this stretch will also tie in with the SRA’s proposed enhancement scheme for the River Sowy. Together, the two schemes will create possibilities for greater operational flexibility in the management of flood water.