Posted March 7, 2019
The River Parrett At Westonzoyland Being Dredged Through Conventional Methods In 2014. CREDIT: Somerset Rivers Authority
A SIGNIFICANT stretch of one of Somerset’s main rivers will be dredged this autumn as part of flood prevention work by the Somerset Rivers Authority (SRA).
The authority, which was created after the disastrous flooding of 2013/14, has been working since late-2017 on a scheme for dredging the River Parrett between Oath and Burrowbridge on the Somerset Levels.
Following extensive modelling, a stretch between Burrowbridge and Stathe has been selected, with the SRA arguing the “greatest hydraulic impact” can be achieved here.
The scheme could protect up to 200 properties in an area of 65 square kilometres (25 square miles).
An update on the proposed dredging came before the SRA’s board in Yeovil on Friday morning (March 1).
Mark Glennerster from the Somerset Drainage Boards Consortium said in his written report: “The current scheme design maximises benefits whilst working within the known constraints and available budget.
“Modelling has shown that work should be focused between Stathe and Burrowbridge where the greatest hydraulic impact can be achieved.
“The results indicate that 65sq km of land in the River Parrett catchment, and 200 properties currently at direct risk of flooding, will benefit from reduced flood risks.”
The SRA has been granted funding by the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership towards the cost of dredging the river.
This funding has to be spent by 2021 at the very latest, otherwise it may have to be returned.
Mr Glennerster said negotiations were progressing well with the Environment Agency and Natural England over the fine details of the scheme.
He added: “A scheme will require a satisfactory conclusion to the [ongoing] environmental impact assessment and statement, in order for work to commence on-site in the autumn of 2019.
“Work is progressing well; however, there are still challenges ahead.”
A further update will come before the SRA board at its next meeting in June.