SRA End of Year Report 2015-16: Introduction
Somerset Rivers Authority was set up with interim funding of £2.7 million for 2015/16. The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs provided £1.9 million, Somerset County Council £600,000, and Mendip District Council, Sedgemoor District Council, South Somerset District Council, Taunton Deane Borough Council, West Somerset Council and Somerset Consortium of Drainage Boards £200,000 between them.
Establishing the Somerset Rivers Authority (SRA) was a key Action of the Somerset Levels and Moors Flood Action Plan, developed at the Government’s request after the floods of 2013/14 and signed off by the former Secretary of State for the Environment, Owen Paterson, in March 2014. “We must establish a Somerset rivers board that has greater control and responsibility for work to maintain and improve water management…” the Plan stated.
The SRA was formally launched on 31 January, 2015. It covers the whole of Somerset, not just flooded areas of the Levels and Moors.
At the SRA’s first Board meeting in February 2015, members approved a budget for April 2015 – March 2016, which had previously been shared and agreed with Defra. One part of this budget covered the SRA’s Enhanced Maintenance Programme (EMP), another Developing the Somerset Rivers Authority (work on a long-term funding solution, and temporary project staff costs to deliver the Flood Action Plan and develop an SRA funding solution).
This report details what the SRA has done with its 2015/16 interim funding, what this work achieved, and what is left to do and when it will be done.