A new £2.76million programme 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 £1.057million 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 £147.5milion.
There is no increase in the SRA’s council tax charge, which is still at the same level it was in 2016.
All SRA works go above and beyond the usual activities of other Flood Risk Management Authorities in Somerset, such as councils, Internal Drainage Boards and the Environment Agency.
Cllr John Osman, Chairman of Somerset Rivers Authority, said: “Every single element of the SRA’s programme 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.
“In practice, that means some activities are focused on the big need for extra maintenance of watercourses, and of thousands of structures such as culverts and silt-traps and drains and gullies. Beyond that, there’s improvements, innovations, and investigations, and numerous collaborations in towns and in the countryside. Longer term, we’re helping to fund a major project that will help local people decide how they want to adapt to the effects of climate change on flooding problems in Somerset.
“I’m proud to have led Somerset Rivers Authority since it was launched just over four years ago. I’ve seen for myself what can be achieved through us all working together. We’re doing more to tackle flooding, in new and better ways, we’re doing more to make people’s lives safer and easier. That wouldn’t be happening without the SRA.”
For much fuller details of new SRA activities countywide, visit: www.somersetriversauthority.org.uk/flood-risk-work/sra-enhanced-programme-works-2019-20/
PHOTO: Carhampton stream maintenance work for the SRA.