Part 2 of the SRA End of Year Report 2017-18: Performance and Finance
2017-18 saw the SRA delivering its third annual Enhanced Programme of works. Twenty-three actions were approved by the SRA Board for delivery across Somerset. The total 2017-18 funding from SRA Local Partners (council tax and contributions from Somerset’s IDBs) was £2.843million. After provisions were made for contingency (£95k), four staff and overheads (£200k), and £150k was put aside for Sowy/King’s Sedgemoor Drain enhancements and/or pioneer dredging, the amount available for the 2017-18 Enhanced Programme was £2.398m.
2017-18 also saw the SRA and its partners continuing to work on actions that began life in earlier years. Some of these were always expected to take more than one calendar year to deliver; others were delayed for a variety of reasons, such as environmental considerations, issues with land ownership, or sheer complexity.
An SRA action is a work or collection of associated works that gives Somerset extra flood protection or resilience, and advances Somerset’s 20 Year Flood Action Plan. Maintenance dredging of the Parrett is one action: so is the jetting of a few dozen drains.
An action is recorded as completed when all costs have been fully claimed by the SRA’s delivery partners. This can be several months after works on the ground have finished. By the end of March 2017, 44 SRA-funded actions had been completed.
At the start of the 2017-18 financial year (in April 2017), the SRA had 56 actions on the go, including the 23 newly-approved by the SRA Board in March 2017. Table A (below) shows that 16 actions were recorded as completed during 2017-18, leaving 40 still in progress.
Table A excludes key projects funded using Growth Deal money from the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership (HotSWLEP). More information about these projects can be found below and in Part 3a of this report.
Part 3b gives detailed information about what has been achieved, and what is being achieved, on all actions in the SRA’s 2017-18 Enhanced Programme and on all actions carried forward from previous years.
The pie-chart below shows SRA money spent during 2017-18, by Workstream.
The figures show funding from all sources, namely SRA Local Partners (council tax and contributions from Somerset’s Internal Drainage Boards), the Heart of the SW Local Enterprise Partnership (HotSWLEP) Growth Deal Fund, Interim Funding from 2015-16 and DCLG funding from 2014.
Delivery: Financial Spend by Workstream
All SRA-funded actions are part of the SRA’s five main Workstreams, delivered for the SRA by its delivery partners (local councils, Environment Agency, IDBs, Natural England, FWAG SW).
- W1 – Dredging and River Management
- W2 – Land Management including natural flood management activities
- W3 – Urban Water Management including Sustainable Urban Drainage Schemes (SuDS), planning and enforcement
- W4 – Resilient Infrastructure including improvements and extra works to stop roads flooding
- W5 – 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
Most SRA spending during 2017-18 was in W1, Dredging and River Management. £476k was spent on maintaining dredged profiles, silt monitoring, and de-silting with a further £162k spent on the Environment Agency’s Wessex De-silt Top Up. The SRA contributed £300k to the £4.35m Cannington Flood Alleviation Scheme which was operational over the winter of 2017-18 and stopped the village flooding. Other spending included: £206k on Main River Asset Improvements, £96k on improvements to pumping stations, £43k on tree work along the River Brue, and £23k on a variety of extra works in South Somerset and Sedgemoor. The SRA gave £65k of Local Partner funding to the Taunton Strategic Flood Alleviation Improvements Scheme (not to be confused with the £65k also given to this scheme from HotSWLEP funds – see below). Other funds were spent on delivering work continued from previous years.
Natural Flood Management projects in W2 were funded by both HotSWLEP and Local Partners’ money. During 2017-18, £363k was spent on Hills to Levels schemes to ‘slow the flow’ of water down to vulnerable areas, projects to encourage better soil husbandry and so reduce surface water run-off, and visits to investigate problems with road flooding and subsequent work on land management solutions. £137k of this spend came from 2017-18 Local Partner funding.
Work continued on W3, Urban Water Management. A small rain garden project, popular with residents, was completed in Taunton. Other projects have been focused on research and investigation: the lifespan of the EU-backed Sponge initiative is 2016 to 2020: so this workstream has so far not had cause for significant capital expenditure. During 2017-18, £37k was spent.
On W4, Resilient Infrastructure, £703k of Local Partner funding was spent during 2017-18. Actions included a package of enhanced highway maintenance programmes (de-silting structures, drain jetting, gully emptying, targeted edge of road clearing – £392k), a new drainage scheme on the A38 at Rumwell (£115k – came in under budget), and new drainage pipes to re-direct floodwater away from a low blind bend on the A372 at Pibsbury Corner in Huish Episcopi (£25k – also under budget). The remaining £171k funded inspections and remedial works to culverts under roads in IDB areas (£73k), CCTV surveys of drains and culverts, and Local Flood Risk Management Measures continued from previous years (such as Old Cleeve to Blue Anchor drainage upgrades).
SRA spend on W5, Building Local Resilience, was £53k in 2017-18. Working with communities has a pace that varies from place to place; it can take time to build up trust, develop ideas and get the best from people. The SRA-funded Community Resilience Officer has worked closely in the past year with flood-affected communities, and grants have been given to communities for training and equipment. Phase Two of the Levels Land Trust scheme has progressed, using funds given by DCLG in 2014.
In 2014, the SRA was given £13.049million from the HotSWLEP Growth Deal fund to pay for work on several long-term key projects up to 2021. So far, £6.507m of this Growth Deal money has been used. In 2017-18 the total spent was £1.083m. Of this, £328k went towards the Bridgwater Tidal Barrier, £65k towards the Taunton Strategic Flood Alleviation Improvements Scheme, £226k on Slow the Flow Natural Flood Management schemes, £399k on Sowy/King’s Sedgemoor Drain enhancements (including some outstanding claims for work on the major Beer Wall scheme near Othery), and £64k on dredging activities. Part 3a of this report gives more key project details.
Table B (below) shows the financial summary for 2017-18.
The total funding available in 2017-18 (excluding HotSWLEP Growth Deal funding) was £5.947million. This figure includes £3.104m brought forward from previous years and the Local Partners’ funding for 2017-18 of £2.843m. The amount spent by the SRA in 2017-18, using money from these sources, was £2.539m. A further £1.083m was spent on activities funded by HotSWLEP Growth Deal money, making a total of £3.622m (as in the last line of the Spent column in Table B). Take out £210k for SRA staff and overheads, and £3.412m was spent on works on the ground.
However, it is vital to remember that there is a time-lag between delivery partners receiving their contractor invoices and then raising a claim to the SRA.
The final total spent by the SRA on actual works that happened in 2017-18 will therefore turn out to be greater than £3.412m.
Because SRA delivery partners have committed costs of £1.815m that are still to be claimed from the SRA, the final total will be around £5.227m.
Project spending is monitored throughout the year by the SRA Board. When savings are made in one project, funds can – subject to Board approval – be allocated to different works. These works may extend an existing project or be completely new. This is why in Table B some figures shown under Difference vary from those under Carry Forward to 2018-19. A balance of £3.408m – excluding HotSWLEP Growth Deal Funding – will be carried forward to 2018-19. The amount of Growth Deal Funding still available to the SRA, up to 2021, is £6.542m.