River Parrett: New Dredge April 2016 - Northmoor Pumping Station to Linden Farm
In 2014, as part of Somerset's 20 Year Flood Action Plan, the Environment Agency dredged 8km of the Rivers Parrett and Tone. The Environment Agency is soon to dredge another section of the River Parrett on behalf of the Somerset Rivers Authority (SRA). This new dredging will cover around 750m.
The SRA is paying for the project, using its funding from 2015/16, and Growth Deal money from Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership.
Why this location?
Following the 8km dredge of the Parrett and Tone, the Environment Agency, on behalf of the SRA, investigated the effectiveness of dredging elsewhere, with input from local people and Somerset Drainage Boards Consortium.
Ten potential dredging sites were identified and assessed, including a section of the River Parrett immediately downstream of the 8km dredge, from Northmoor Pumping Station towards Bridgwater. The new dredge (marked on the map below in red) will cover the first 750m of this section.
A map showing where new dredging of the River Parrett will be carried out in 2016, by the Environment Agency for Somerset Rivers Authority.
Of the ten possibilities scrutinised, this showed the greatest physical benefits to people and property. It will help to reduce flood risk to homes and buildings, damage to agricultural land and disruption to roads and railways in the event of a flood like that of winter 2013/2014.
What you can expect to see
Most of the dredging will be done using equipment floating on the river so as to reduce disruption to traffic on Huntworth Lane and also to avoid high-voltage overhead cables. About 150m on the south side will be carried out by excavators on the bank or road.
The dredge will improve the conveyance of water along the Parrett, whilst conserving its ecological value. It is likely that just one bank will be dredged, rather than both banks as in the 8km dredge.
As with the 8km dredge, the Environment Agency and its contractors (Galliford Try, Black & Veatch and Land & Water) will work around existing flood defences, put in to make riverbanks more stable.
How might this affect you?
When long-reach excavators are working from the south side of the river, they will completely block the road. This means that part of Huntworth Lane will have to be closed, probably for about four weeks.
However, to minimise disruption for residents, access to local properties will be maintained during the works: the road will be open outside of working hours and at weekends, and pedestrians will be accommodated wherever possible.
At the moment, we are unsure exactly when the road will be shut as we are still planning the works programme, but as soon as a date has been agreed with Somerset County Council's highways department we will let residents and key users (e.g. refuse collection / school bus) know. We will send out letters with more detail and post updates via the Environment Agency's social media channels nearer the time.
The Environment Agency, locally, on Twitter: https://twitter.com/EnvAgencySW
The Environment Agency, locally, on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/environmentagencywessex
We plan to start the dredge towards the end of April and are likely to complete works by the autumn.
How we will keep you updated
We will hold two drop-in sessions to update local communities. The first will be in Moorland Village Hall at the start of the dredge, the second in Westonzoyland Village Hall when we are about halfway through. We will publicise the dates for the drop-ins nearer the time.
We will post updates through our social media channels (Facebook and Twitter) and through Community Updates and editions of the SRA newsletter 'The Stream'.
Should you wish to get in touch with the project team in the meantime, please use either Facebook or Twitter or email the team on firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 03708 506 506.