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Flood risk management work in Somerset

Somerset Rivers Authority’s purpose is to provide an extra level of flood protection for families and communities across the whole of Somerset. 

SRA plans for 2018-19 focus heavily on providing additional maintenance to rivers, roads and structures such as culverts, so as to give Somerset the greater flood protection and resilience that long experience shows it needs.

The programme is funded by council tax and contributions from Somerset's Internal Drainage Boards.

It proposes:  

  • £2.23m for 22 projects (at dozens of sites and with numerous different elements)
  • £450k towards the major Sowy/King’s Sedgemoor Drain project or new River Parrett dredging
  • £200k on four SRA staff and overheads, to support both this programme and the delivery of HotSWLEP Growth Deal-funded SRA projects (totalling £1.4m).

Click to download a PDF about Somerset Rivers Authority’s Enhanced Programme for 2018-19.

Click here to download a PDF map of the Somerset Rivers Authority’s Enhanced Programme activities in 2018-19.

Major SRA projects funded by Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership Growth Deal money

Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership logo

HM Government logo to accompany HotSWLEP logo

Several major projects funded by Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership (HotSWLEP) Growth Deal money also form part of the SRA’s plans for 2018-19. SRA major projects tend to be longer-term works, stretching out towards 2021. These include:

  • Pioneer dredging activities on the River Parrett
  • River Sowy / King’s Sedgemoor Drain (KSD) enhancements
  • Development work on the Bridgwater Tidal Barrier
  • Natural flood management works to Slow the Flow of water as part of Hills to Levels
The rest of this page outlines:

  • The Somerset Rivers Authority End of Year Report for 2017-18
  • The Somerset Rivers Authority Half Year Progress Report for 2017-18
  • Flood risk management works carried out by other organisations in Somerset, known as the Somerset Common Works Programme
  • Somerset's 20 Year Flood Action Plan and SRA workstreams

This page also offers some links to more detailed descriptions of the above subjects and chances to download PDFs.

Explore headings in the sidebar (which are below if you’re on a mobile) if you would like to find out more about works in previous years, such as 2016-17.

SRA End of Year Report 2017-18

Somerset Rivers Authority's End of Year Report 2017-18 covers all activities funded by the SRA between the start of April 2017 and the end of March 2018.

Download a PDF of the SRA End of Year Report 2017-18 with photos (40 pages; 2MB)

Download a PDF of the SRA End of Year Report 2017-18 - NO PHOTOS (29 pages: 0.5MB)

Spending: In 2017-18, the SRA spent just over £3.6million on actions designed to give Somerset extra flood protection and resilience. Partners delivering work for the SRA also committed to spend a further £1.8m, so when all of the final invoices have been submitted and paid, the total spent on works on the ground across Somerset in 2017-18 will have been more than £5m.

The SRA backs several key projects, using Growth Deal funding from the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership (HotSWLEP). Five schemes were supported in 2017-18: Bridgwater Tidal Barrier, Sowy / King’s Sedgemoor Drain (KSD) enhancements, Natural Flood Management (Hills to Levels), the Taunton Strategic Flood Alleviation Improvements Scheme and dredging activities. A new and important subset is the ongoing development of a Strategic Approach to Mitigation. This work is being led for the SRA by Natural England. Its main aims are to reduce costs and risks, to help schemes such as the Barrier, Sowy/KSD and further dedging to go ahead, and to secure a wide range of environmental benefits.

SRA actions are grouped in five workstreams: Dredging & River Management (W1), Land Management (W2), Urban Water Management (W3), Resilient Infrastructure (W4) and Building Community Resilience (W5). W1 currently gets the largest share of SRA spending, for activities such as the innovative use of quicker, cheaper water injection dredging techniques along 5km of the Parrett down from Burrowbridge. Other successes include two national awards for the Hills To Levels partnership (W2), initiatives on Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (W3), A38 and A372 improvements plus extra maintenance and investigations (W4), and grants and training (W5).

Everything the SRA does is rooted in Somerset’s 20 Year Flood Action Plan (FAP), drawn up during the devastating floods of 2013-14. The SRA itself emerged from this Plan, and now oversees it. Part 4 of the End of Year Report 2017-18 looks at progress against key FAP targets.

SRA Half Year Progress Report 2017-18

Somerset Rivers Authority's Half Year Progress Report 2017-18 describes progress made between April and September 2017 on key projects and numerous activities across the county.

Please click here to view the report.

What flood risk management works were carried out by other organisations in Somerset, in the Somerset Common Works Programme 2017-18?

Other flood risk management authorities at work in Somerset are the Environment Agency, Natural England, the Internal Drainage Boards, Wessex Water, Somerset County Council (the Lead Local Flood Authority), and the five district councils of South Somerset District Council, Mendip District Council, Taunton Deane Borough Council, Sedgemoor District Council and West Somerset Council.

In addition, work was done by the Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group SW (FWAG SW) to round off the part of the Hills to Levels project which was funded by players of the People’s Postcode Lottery and led by the Royal Bath & West Society in a partnership including the RSPB and Somerset Wildlife Trust.

Involvement with the SRA means that work can be co-ordinated to ensure that organisations’ collective experience and knowledge benefits Somerset’s flood risk management.

The Somerset Common Works Programme (CWP) lists, in one place, all the flood risk management activities funded by Flood Risk Management Authorities and other organisations across Somerset, with the exception of the Somerset Rivers Authority (SRA).

SRA works are not included because they are additional to the schemes and projects in the CWP.

Here you can download a PDF describing actions in the Somerset Common Works Programme 2017-18 and download a map showing the locations of schemes and projects in the CWP for 2017-18. The PDF and map are designed to be used together.

Somerset is the only county in the UK where all such information is made publicly available in one place.

A short user’s guide to the Common Works Programme 2017-18

The PDF of the Common Works Programme (CWP) tells you which authority or organisation is doing works, and in which districts and parishes. Each scheme has been given a code, and the map uses that code to help indicate a scheme’s location.

The CWP PDF gives a brief description of schemes, and tells you more about how they are being paid for.

All projects in the CWP are funded through the different organisations’ existing budgets, but money flows into those budgets from various sources. 

For example, in the case of the Environment Agency, some schemes are funded through national government via the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), some through the local levy that is raised by the Wessex Regional Flood and Coastal Committee from Lead Local Flood Authorities in its area (Somerset’s Lead Local Flood Authority is Somerset County Council). 

As can be seen from studying the CWP, Somerset Rivers Authority does not detract from the responsibilities of different authorities and organisations (or, indeed, those of the owners of rivers and watercourses). Existing Flood Risk Management Authorities and their existing associated funding streams, responsibilities and accountabilities continue, but everyone involved with the SRA and Somerset’s CWP seeks to achieve even more by working together.

Somerset’s 20 Year Flood Action Plan

Somerset Rivers Authority oversees all the work being done as part of Somerset’s 20 Year Flood Action Plan. The overarching aim of the plan is to reduce the frequency, duration and severity of flooding.

Numerous different bodies are responsible for funding or carrying out activities, including Government departments, quangos, charities, local authorities and Drainage Boards.

Work is organised into five main themes:

  • River Management including dredging
  • Land Management including natural flood management activities
  • Urban Water Management including Sustainable Urban Drainage Schemes, planning and enforcement
  • Resilient Infrastructure including maintenance of highways drainage systems
  • Building Local Resilience, giving inspiration, support, advice, information and practical help to communities, households, businesses, and landowners across Somerset to encourage and enable them to become more resilient and resistant to the impacts of flooding

Click to find out more about the Flood Action Plan or follow the link in the right sidebar (below if you’re on a mobile). To download PDFs, please click on the links below:
Executive summary of the 20 Year Flood Action Plan

Full 20 Year Flood Action Plan

Following Flood Action Plan reviews, a Water Level Management Plan Assessment was produced in October 2014 to assess the impact of water level management on flooding.

If you would like to get in touch please contact us at sra@somerset.gov.uk or tel: 01823 355111
The Flood Action Plan is now overseen by the Somerset Rivers Authority and can be contacted on the above.