SRA Annual Report 2018-19: Highways Referrals (W2)

Roads range from the M5 down to rural single-track lanes. Investigations look at where water comes from, where it goes, and how land management initiatives could make a difference.


Critchill, Frome

Reports of field run-off from maize stubble on to the highway prompted a soil inspection visit in November 2018. Quotes for a sediment pond to prevent water reaching the road are awaited.

Dinder and Masbury, A371

Reports of surface water on private land discharging on to the highway. FWAG SW, the estate landlord and tenants met in February 2019 to discuss natural flood management and maize management. The farmer at Masbury has created a leaky pond; talks at Dinder are ongoing.

Vobster Cross to Hatchett Hill

Reports of surface water from private land discharging on to the highway. Discussions have been held with the farmer and the Mendip division of Somerset County Council’s Highways Department about possible solutions, including enhanced flood water storage in the field and clearing the culvert beneath the road, but no definitive answers have yet been found.


Ashton Windmill, Chapel Allerton

Reports of run-off from adjacent field causing highway flooding, sometimes for long periods during wet weather. Landowners to be contacted to discuss possible hedge-laying and compacted grass ley solutions.

North Petherton

Landowner advised about run-off from field adjoining Dancing Hill and the High Street in North Petherton. Action recommended: cultivating strips across the field to help to slow the flow during heavy downpours.

Wedmore, Plud Street

The farmer is to re-establish a hedge bank and hedge to solve the problem of run-off from a maize field. Chisel ploughing has also been done.

South Somerset

Barrington, Bonning’s Lane

Following reports of run-off from fields accumulating in Bonnings Lane, FWAG SW provided advice to the landowner on soil management, hedgerow and woodland planting, and installing a grass buffer strip. Hedge planting was successfully bid for in the first SRA natural flood management auction, and planted in winter 2018 (pictured right). Coir rolls have also been provided to the landowner to install before each winter, in association with the parish-funded flood warden.


Reports of surface water run-off on to Dropping Farm Lane creating a hazard, particularly during the winter. However, the farm manager was not aware of any issue and as the field is very flat it was difficult to see how any problem might arise.

Chard, Brutton Way

Reports of accelerated run-off from field access trackway contributing to localised flooding issues on amenity land managed by South Somerset District Council and properties adjoining Brutton Way. FWAG SW visited to see if cross-drains on the track would help but this idea was shelved as there was no sensible place to send water.

Chard, Laurel Gardens / Crimchard area

Investigations were carried out into complicated problems with surface water run-off and highway drainage. Talks involved FWAG SW advisers, Somerset County Council’s Highways Department, landowners and residents. It was concluded that there were very limited opportunities for natural flood management works. Instead, Somerset Council has decided to move 47 gullies from its 4-year cleansing cycle to its annual programme. On this annual programme, the gullies will also qualify for an extra SRA-funded cycle, so in 2019-20 they will be emptied twice. The county council has also made a successful bid to the SRA for three new silt-traps in the Crimchard area. These will help to protect around 60 properties.

Somerton, Wasps Nest Farm Lane

Reports of run-off surging onto the highway from above fields and collecting on Wasps Nest Farm Lane. Somerset County Council’s Highways Department wrote to landowners to urge them to maintain their ditches, but run-off still needed to be contained in fields or captured and dispersed in a controlled way. The SRA agreed to fund a culvert that will enable the water to flow within a ditch, as opposed to overtopping and travelling down the road where it floods the lane. The landowner has agreed to carry out ditch work, including digging grips to allow water to drain from the lane. An application for funding was submitted and approved in July 2018; construction is pending.

M5 southbound near Shoreditch

Frequent flooding on the M5 southbound carriageway near Shoreditch has caused several accidents. FWAG SW and Highways England visited the site with the landowner. Soil was inspected and areas were identified for natural flood management. It was agreed that FWAG SW should apply to the SRA for a grant to carry out ditch and field works on flow pathways, and contact landowners upstream. A programme of drainage maintenance was also agreed with Highways England.

Peasmarsh, near Ilminster

Reports of run-off from a field next to the A358 causing flooding to properties. The farmer agreed to install a cross drain in the gateway to divert run-off to an adjoining ditch.

Long Sutton, Langport

A member of the public told Somerset County Council Highways that run-off from fields adjoining Burnt House Lane and Langport Road was leaving soil and large stones on the road. The complainant feared that the state of the ditches could also lead to highway and property flooding. A visit found no signs of debris; a further inspection is planned to be sure.

Wincanton, Riding Gate

Reports of mud and silt running off land used for maize growing, blocking the drains and causing a potential skid risk. The farmer broke off from his pre-Christmas preparation of turkeys to put straw bales in the gateway to block silt. Unfortunately, the problem persisted. FWAG SW revisited, and the farmer is now planning to create a grassy field corner, change the field’s management and put in a silt trap.

Wincanton, West Hill

Reports of run-off from maize fields contributing to localised highway flooding at West Hill. A FWAG SW visit found the fields’ soil structure was in good condition. FWAG’s recommendation was to make an application for Countryside Stewardship to install a 6m grass buffer strip to help slow the flow of field run-off and reduce the amount reaching the highway. This was successful.

Lopen, Lopen Lane

Reports of run-off from a field causing soil on this narrow road to block drains. Part of the problem is that the lane is marked as an access route to Over Stratton on sat nav and this increases the volume of traffic, which is undercutting roadside banks, causing de- stabilisation and adding to the volume of sediment deposited. Visits made in summer 2018. Traffic management solutions mooted, to reduce pressure and bank side erosion.

Tatworth, A358

FWAG SW and Somerset County Council (SCC) investigated a complicated situation involving highways run-off flowing across a field because of a damaged gateway drainage system and property flooding problems not helped by liquid digestate spreading. As the site was due to be developed by a major housing company, SCC agreed to check on flood control measures included in the planning application for the site.

Taunton Deane

Combe Florey – (x2)

Advice given about land use and soil structure at two sites presenting flood risks to the A358.

Kingston St Mary

Discussions held with landowners about diverting water across fields to reduce problems of road flooding and deteriorating, causing dangers for cyclists.

North Curry

Reports of water running down a track onto Helland Hill, carrying mud, silt and stones into the highway drainage system. Landowner visited, and agreed to install some rolls of coir matting in a gateway to help fix the problem.


Discussions begun with farmer about water flowing onto road from farm fields and track.

Wiveliscombe, Pyncombe Lane

Landowners visited to discuss soil husbandry, grazing and farm traffic as part of a co-ordinated follow-up to SRA and Triple C funded schemes to reduce the risks of landslides and run-off.

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