The Somerset Rivers Authority (SRA) was launched on January 31, 2015 to play a key role in flood protection for the county.
It was one of the Actions of the Somerset Levels and Moors Flood Action Plan, set up at the Government’s request to reduce the severity, duration and frequency of flooding like that experienced in 2013/14.
The SRA’s purpose is to deliver higher standards of flood protection than would be funded nationally, and to create better flood protection and resilience against further flooding by joint planning and delivery (where possible).
It will not lessen partners’ and land owners’ existing responsibilities or accountabilities. The existing Flood Risk Management Authorities, including the Internal Drainage Boards, will continue - with increased opportunities to link activities and ensure they benefit from members’ collective experience and knowledge.
The SRA was set up with interim funding of £2.7m for the financial year 2015/16, from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra - £1.9m); Somerset County Council (£600k), the county’s five District Councils and the Somerset Drainage Boards Consortium (£200k all together).
It is run by a Board of partners from the five District Councils, Somerset County Council, the Environment Agency, the Parrett and Axe Brue Internal Drainage Boards, the Wessex Regional Flood & Coastal Committee and Natural England.
During 2015, officers from Defra, the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and the SRA worked together on a Funding Options Report which outlined a range of options for a local mechanism to fund the SRA and its work.
Following on from that report, the SRA asked Government ministers for parliamentary legislation to establish the SRA as a new statutory body with the power to raise income countywide from householders.
For 2016-17, the Department for Communities and Local Government gave Somerset County Council and the five district councils the power to raise a shadow precept of up to 1.25%, for the purpose of funding the Somerset Rivers Authority.
Environment Minister Liz Truss told the Oxford Farming Conference in January 2016 she was “glad the Communities Secretary has given the Authority the power to raise a Shadow Precept from this April on the way to long-term local funding.”
Click on the Flood Risk Work tab at the top to find out more about the work we do - and plan to do - and the tabs to the right (or below if you're using a mobile) to find out more about the SRA Board and its members, and how we operate.
Click to read the Somerset Rivers Authority's latest progress update, called The Stream.
Alternatively, you can download a PDF of the latest issue of the SRA's Progress Update, which covers dredging trials, new river channels at Beer Wall, extra works to help stop flooding on roads across Somerset, and much more.