Cheddar flood relief measures works complete
A SIX-MONTH project to improve flood relief measures in Cheddar has been completed.
Due to the hard work of the many volunteers, the total direct cost of the project was kept under £2,500.
Unprecedented levels of rainfall over the winter of 2012/2013 led to severe flooding and a road closure in Cheddar Gorge.
Following the severe flooding, a solution was required to try to avoid this happening again.
After a multi-agency meeting, held in February 2013, Linda Wilson, conservation officer for CCC offered the services of volunteers from the caving community to attempt to remove considerable amounts of silt, rocks, tree trunks and other debris that had contributed to blocking one of the upstream sinkholes near the main entrance to the cave system known as Longwood/August sink.
In addition, permission was sought from Natural England to construct a permanent dam in place of the temporary structure and to allow work to take place in Longwood Valley Sink to replace the crumbling metal oil drums with a new plastic entrance pipe.
The area is in a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
Work was undertaken jointly by staff and volunteers from the Somerset Wildlife Trust (SWT) and the Charterhouse Caving Company Ltd (CCC) under the project management of Somerset County Councils Highways Department.
Sedgemoor District Council funded the digger, sand and cement with the entrance grill costs being split between Cheddar Caves and Gorge and CCC. Somerset County Council supplied the sinks new pipe.
Julie Cooper, team leader for environment and climate change at Sedgemoor District Council said: "This project has been brought to a successful conclusion on time and under budget.
"This is a testament to the hard work and dedication of those involved. All of the volunteers and partner agencies have worked really well together to keep the project on track."
Linda Wilson, conservation officer for CCC, who co-ordinated the project, said: "This was a massive task. For most of the project we were either working in very cold water or covered in mud, being eaten alive by insects, but everybody did their bit on time and we got the job done."
Cllr David Hall, Somerset County Council cabinet member with responsibility for local flood management, said: “This project is a great example of what can be achieved by local authorities working together with the community. Everybody played their part by offering resources and expertise and the volunteers deserve a huge amount of credit for driving this forward with such commitment and enthusiasm.”