Projects in the SRA’s Enhanced Programme are scrutinised by experts from different authorities and carefully prioritised, according to factors including: needs and benefits; the main goals of Somerset’s 20 Year Flood Action Plan; and whether they represent work that is indeed truly additional.
Outlined below are all schemes, activities and actions currently in the SRA’s Enhanced Programme for key capital projects in 2016/17 that are being funded by council tax and money from Somerset’s Internal Drainage Boards. Each description is followed by a summary of the planned objectives, outcomes and benefits; in short, why the work is being done.
It’s a vital principle of SRA work that it delivers an extra level for flood protection for Somerset. A final note on each scheme shows whether it represents additional work or additional funding.
These activities are part of the SRA’s Enhanced Programme and are all due to be completed in this financial year.
Click to download a PDF of the SRA 2016/17 Enhanced Programme for key capital projects.
Cannington Flood alleviation scheme
To construct a relief channel to divert flood water away from the village.
Why: The scheme will protect an estimated 200 houses in Cannington during a one-in-a-hundred year flood event. Within the last 10 years, up to fifty properties have been flooded several times and the A39 main road has been impassable. This creates serious consequences for emergency vehicles, Hinkley Point and local services. The Environment Agency have prepared a full business case in accordance with Treasury Guidelines.
Brue Banks Set Back Project
The Environment Agency currently undertakes routine watercourse maintenance work in the form of weed-cutting operations utilising land-based tracked excavators which sit on top of earth embankments. Due to a recent fatality in Lincolnshire, when a machine slipped off an embankment into a watercourse, a new minimum clearance instruction has been adopted for delivering this type of work. As a minimum, the bank top should allow a 2-metre clearance on either side of the machine. In order to ensure this type of work is delivered safely and complies with Environment Agency Health and Safety requirements, funding will enable the top bank width to be enabled either by setting back (moving) banks where appropriate or thickening the bank in its current location. The Environment Agency has funding to deliver the routine maintenance work, but is unable to attract funding via Flood Defence Grant-in-Aid for this work to be delivered safely.
Why: This bank work will enable routine maintenance work to continue and ensure that flood risk is managed appropriately in the section of the Brue highlighted below:
- Buttmoor Bridge to Cow Bridge (both banks)
- Pompares Bridge to Stileway (right bank)
1st year trial site - Internal Drainage Board precept can contribute to this. When the scheme is completed, routine watercourse maintenance work will be able to continue for perhaps another 50 years.
Pumping station repairs and improvements
SRA funding will allow pump platforms to be built at key permanent pumping stations. The Environment Agency will also be able to do other works to enable temporary pumps to operate, such as increasing electrical connections, constructing secure buildings for generators, upgrading lighting and security, buying custom-made road ramps and improving access routes to stations.
Key aspects of pumping station (PS) repairs likely to include:
- North Drain PS roof
- Westover PS and Midelney PS, concrete slab failing
- Long Load PS, roof
- Midelney PS, septic tank
- West Sedgemoor PS, windows replacement
- Saltmoor PS, roof repairs, new electrical equipment
- Gold Corner PS, roof
Why: Linking to the Trigger Point Project, these works will enable rapid, effective and efficient deployment of pumps once criteria are met (i.e. when a road or property is at risk of flooding, moor levels are rising in excess of 50mm an hour or 100mm of rain is forecast for the next 5 days) as well as increasing permanent station resilience to accommodate additional temporary pump facilities.
Temporary pump platform at Andersea
A temporary platform at Andersea near Westonzoyland will allow pumps to be run efficiently and effectively. Extra work will open up ditches which have long been filled in but which could take water to pumps (and, in so doing, help maintain access to farms). In 2013/14, some lower lying buildings around Andersea were flooded, along with a large area of land.
Why: As with the pumping station repairs and improvements, this project produces additional benefits when linked to the Environment Agency’s Trigger Points. It will also complement SRA- backed projects on the River Sowy and at Chedzoy Flap, the local desilting of the Penzoy river system (funded by Parrett Internal Drainage Board precept) and the Environment Agency-funded upgrading of the flood defence asset in Lakewall bank (which will allow a more flexible way of managing flood water).
Pumping from Andersea into the River Parrett will provide an additional way of removing water from the Andersea/Chedzoy moors. Currently, the only means of evacuation is by gravity through Chedzoy flap and this depends on water levels in King’s Sedgemoor Drain being low enough. Pumping into the Parrett does not depend on water levels so Andersea could be a constant discharge point during a flood.
Maintaining resilience of wet grassland in Parrett & Tone floodplains for farming enterprises and nature
Almost 240 water-level control structures could be improved, replaced or removed in a scheme that will bring extra benefits to farming and wildlife for the next 20-30 years. New infrastructure will be investigated, designed and installed in key parts of the floodplains upstream of Langport that:
- Builds and maintains the resilience of wet grasslands on the floodplains
- Creates or enhances wetland habitats
- Enables farmers to access the higher tiers of agri-environment schemes
- Retains the skills of farming resilient wet grasslands in the floodplains
Why: Several of the water-level control structures on the 145 hectares of West Moor Raised Water Level Area (RWLA) and on Wet Moor RWLA (311ha) are beginning to fail after 20 years of service. SRA funding will enable these two RWLAs to continue to operate for another 20-30 years, improving the condition of West Moor Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and Wet Moor SSSI and benefitting those that farm these wet grasslands in a nature-friendly way. Refurbishing the local water management system will help to ensure that long-term financial support can be given through agri-environment schemes. The scheme will be designed to accommodate predicted changes in climate over the next 30 years.
Wirral Park Pumping station refurbishment, Glastonbury
A 1989 facility in urgent need of upgrade and refurbishment.
A second year of funding for an improvement scheme, following the completion of urgent repairs and the replacement of defective parts (eg, large gate valves), funded by the SRA in 2015/16.
Why: In 2015/16, the SRA funded the replacement of worn-out pipes and flow control valves, which were compromising the station’s ability to empty the balancing pond. Phase 2 will upgrade the station to enable remote monitoring, ensure it works well for another 25 years and continues to protect homes and businesses from flooding.