Plea for joint solution to Somerset Levels flooding
Somerset’s Drainage Boards will call on all local authorities, agencies and services to unite behind an all-embracing strategy to reduce the threat of flooding in the county at a top-level meeting on Friday.
Nick Stevens, Chief Executive of the Somerset Drainage Boards Consortium, will reinforce the need for a sustainable, whole-catchment approach.
Speaking in advance of the Somerset Flooding Summit, he said: “This is an opportunity for organisations, local authorities and communities across the county to unite and promote a way forward which is both affordable and sustainable.”
Repeated and prolonged flooding saw many businesses in Somerset waterlogged three times last year and farmland under water for many months.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
The Environment Agency has agreed that desilting, or dredging, would substantially alleviate flooding and reduce disruption and financial consequences to the county, but doesn't have the money to meet the estimated £2 million cost.
Mr Stevens will explain to the countywide meeting how the flood risk to the Somerset Levels and Moors has increased, not only through deterioration in the condition of the rivers, but also because of urban development and changes to land management in the catchment areas of the rivers Parrett and Tone.
He said: “The key is to tackle the flooding problem on a whole-catchment basis. For many years now, the rate at which floodwater comes off the higher land surrounding the Levels and Moors has been increasing. Yet instead of improving the capacity of the rivers to cope with the extra challenge, we have allowed them to become silted up.
“We need to revive and build upon the actions that were pioneered in the Parrett Catchment Project to reduce the rate of upstream run-off, at the same time as dredging the rivers so that they are better able to cope.”
He will argue that this demands action both to slow the speed and reduce the volume of upstream run-off, and to improve the carrying capacity of the rivers to take it through the Levels and Moors and out to sea.
He added: “It won’t stop flooding in a year as extreme as the one we have just been through, but it would mean that the Levels would be flooded less often and for shorter periods, so greatly reducing the potential damage to people, property, farmland and the environment.
“I am convinced that if the people of Somerset can unite around this sort of approach, then ways can be found of raising the funds and taking the actions to make it happen.”
The Somerset Consortium of Drainage Boards is responsible for land drainage and flood risk on 55,000 hectares of land in Somerset, much of it below sea level, which includes some 22,000 businesses and properties.
It maintains a network of 1,200 km of rhynes and watercourses, but is not responsible for the main rivers, which are the preserve of the Environment Agency.