Proposals to dredge the River Parrett between Stathe and Burrowbridge are out now for a final phase of statutory public consultation lasting until Saturday 3 August.
The move follows a month-long consultation held in May, in which 72% of responses consisted of statements such as “Fully support the proposal” and “This project seems to have been very thoroughly thought out… I support it wholeheartedly”. Other respondents’ questions about issues such as climate change and navigation, and possible different approaches and sites, have been addressed for this final phase.
The aim of the proposed works is to help Somerset Rivers Authority (SRA) reduce flood risks across a large part of the Somerset Levels and Moors that were badly affected in winter 2013-14 and summer 2012. Around 22,000m3 of sediment could be removed from the section of the Parrett pictured in pink at the top of this page, to increase its capacity to carry flood water.
The project is being led for the SRA by the Parrett Internal Drainage Board (IDB), working closely with the Environment Agency, Natural England and consultants Johns Associates. The SRA is using Growth Deal funding from the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership.
Cllr David Hall, Chair of Somerset Rivers Authority, said: “This final phase of public consultation marks the culmination of a huge amount of research and design and planning. I’d like to thank everyone who’s so far contributed to this project and who’s given us their views. We’re now very close to being able to start new dredging works along the Parrett, which will help us to protect people and properties, and to make some environmental improvements along the way.”
Consultation is now required by law to focus on the project’s Environmental Statement, which sets out the effects of what is being proposed. One result in some parts of the river will be the creation of marginal areas of shallow water, which could produce more diverse habitats for wildlife.
The Environmental Statement has been produced following consideration of all the responses given in May’s consultation and in meetings with bodies such as the Flooding on the Levels Action Group, the Inland Waterways Association, the RSPB, Somerset Wildlife Trust, Historic England and the South West Heritage Trust.
Subject to the consultation’s outcome, set-up works could start on-site in August and dredging could begin in September. Necessary works such as monitoring and further ecological improvements, such as hedge planting, would continue into 2020.
Links to downloadable documents
In total, the 13 documents below amount to around 1,300 pages.
Readers are recommended to start with the Non-technical Summary of the Environmental Statement, which is 11 pages long.
The above documents are also available to read or download on the Somerset Drainage Boards Consortium website: http://somersetdrainageboards.gov.uk/operations/projects
Read printed copies
Printed copies of documents can be read between 4 July 2019 (from Thursday afternoon) and 3 August 2019, during normal opening hours, at Langport Library, Whatley, Langport, TA10 9RA and at the Parrett IDB’s office in Bradbury House, 33-34 Market Street, Highbridge, TA9 3BW.
Comments can be submitted in writing to the Parrett IDB between 4 July 2019 and 3 August 2019, by post to the IDB office address given above, or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org