A major milestone has been reached in the development of plans for a Bridgwater Tidal Barrier.
An application has been submitted to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) for a Transport and Works Act Order – or TWAO for short.
Members of the public and organisations now have eight weeks to comment on the application – up until 13 February 2020. Scroll down for more details about this.
Bridgwater Tidal Barrier progress and purpose
A TWAO is needed to get the legal powers required to build a tidal barrier between Express Park and Chilton Trinity and to close the River Parrett as a navigable waterway when the barrier is being used.
Bridgwater Tidal Barrier will help to protect at least 11,300 homes and 1,500 businesses from flooding.
Cllr David Hall, Chair of Somerset Rivers Authority (SRA), said: “One of the main targets of Somerset’s 20 Year Flood Action Plan, which was drawn up during the devastating floods of 2013-14, was to ‘accelerate the construction of a Barrier or Sluice at Bridgwater, with the objective of achieving delivery by 2024’. The date being aimed for previously was 2046.
“As the SRA oversees the Flood Action Plan, and has put £2million of LEP Growth Deals money towards speeding up the delivery of a Barrier, I’m delighted with what the SRA is helping to achieve.
“I’ve lived in the Bridgwater area all my life and seen how the town has grown. We need this Barrier sooner rather than later. It will be a hugely important safeguard.”
Karl Tucker, Chair of the Heart of the South West LEP, added: “The Bridgwater tidal barrier project will not only reduce the risk of flooding in Bridgwater and the surrounding area but it will provide opportunities to further develop the protected land. The £2m Growth Deal funding towards this project is important in supporting the local economy and generating growth in the region.”
The Barrier project is being led by the Environment Agency and Sedgemoor District Council. It also includes improvements to primary riverside flood banks, new secondary flood banks to villages, borrow pits for flood bank material, and fish and eel passes on the Tone and Parrett for environmental mitigation.
Rachel Burden, Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Manager for the Environment Agency, said: “Submission of the TWAO is an exciting milestone for everyone and is the result of a lot of planning and engagement with our partners, stakeholders and community groups. The barrier will better protect at least 11,300 properties and 1,500 businesses from climate change and future flood risk and we are on track to have it operational by 2024.”
Cllr Mike Caswell, Sedgemoor District Council’s Portfolio holder for Infrastructure and Transport, said: “The submission of the Order is a very important milestone in the achievement of the Bridgwater tidal barrier. The barrier will protect many thousands of residents and hundreds of businesses from the devastating threat of flooding.”
Give your views on the Bridgwater Tidal Barrier TWAO
The Transport and Works Act Order application is now out for public consultation until Thursday 13 February, 2020. Formal representations must be made to Defra, so these can be considered by the Secretary of State when deciding whether or not to grant the Transport and Works Act Order. The Minister may decide that a public inquiry will be needed before a decision is made.
Full information can be found on Sedgemoor District Council’s website at https://www.sedgemoor.gov.uk/bridgwaterbarriertwao
The TWAO submission will also be available to view at the following locations for the next eight weeks:
- Environment Agency, Rivers House office, Bridgwater
- Bridgwater Town Library, Bridgwater
- Somerset West and Taunton Council offices, Taunton
- South Somerset District Council offices, Yeovil
- BDB Pitmans LLP, London
Objection or representations must be received by the Secretary of State at Defra on or before 13 February 2020.
Representations made by email should be sent to: FloodsCasework@Defra.gov.uk
Representations should include Bridgwater Tidal Barrier in the subject line.
Representations made by letter should be sent to:
Bridgwater Barrier TWAO Team
Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Team
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Seacole Block, 3rd Floor
2 Marsham Street