SRA End of Year Report 2015-16: West Somerset Streams

Background: A high proportion of watercourses in West Somerset are classified as Rapid Response Catchments, meaning they can fill up and flow dangerously quickly when it rains. It is important to maintain the capacity of these watercourses to convey and discharge safely as much flood water as possible.

Problem: Build-up of fallen and woody debris in the channel causing a potential risk of blockages on bridges adjacent to properties at risk of flooding, and businesses such as tea-rooms and a popular caravan and camping site. Work had to be done sensitively for environmental reasons: Horner Water, for example, is a National Nature Reserve so there was careful liaison with the National Trust about the specification for the paring-back by hand of trees and bushes.

Achieved: A contracting team managed by an Environment Agency Operations project manager undertook in-channel blockage clearance and debris removal to reduce the local flood risk on small upper catchment channels. In total, 6,950 metres were targeted on the following watercourses; Doniford Stream 1,550m, Horner Water 750m, Traphole Stream 2,700m, Washford Stream 1,950m. The task was completed in November 2015 by Environment Agency Framework Contractors.

Such work is strongly supported by the award- winning West Somerset Flood Action Group; they said they were “delighted” with the jobs done in 2015. (More maintenance work is planned in 2016-17).

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