SRA Annual Report 2019-20: Enhanced Mendip flood risk management and maintenance

This meticulous and productive project has two strands.

One is focused on culverts which are a) not included in Mendip District Council’s annual maintenance programme, because they are not owned by the district council or Somerset County Council’s Highways Department and b) which need repair and improvement.

The other is focused on watercourses in Mendip which are not main rivers like the Frome, which are not included in the district council’s annual maintenance programme, and which would benefit from improvements.

The project’s main aims are to reduce flood risks to properties, roads and land across the Mendip district and to increase the area’s resilience. Particular attention is being paid to problems with flash flooding, and to debris and silt travelling downstream to clog culverts.

Mendip flood risk manager Caroline Murray and consultant Jane Moon looking at maps in rain on SRA site visit.Mendip’s Flood Risk Consultant Caroline Murray, of Calm Engineering, is leading this project. Ms Murray and specialist contractor Jane Moon of Hydromorph (pictured above, from left) began by identifying 83 sub-catchments across Mendip. They analysed these in relation to reported incidents of flooding and other relevant information and data, such as flood risk maps. The 23 highest priority sites were then further investigated. Visits to the village of Rode, for example, looked in detail at features such as watercourses, fields, ponds, pipes and culverts, and a flood alleviation plan was drawn up. In March 2020 the SRA Board agreed to fund this Rode plan as part of the SRA’s Enhanced Programme of Works for 2020-21.

Plans for other high-priority sites are being developed through this ongoing project. Some works will be delivered through existing Mendip District Council highway programmes, funding for others is being sought elsewhere. A bid is being prepared to the SRA for a Mendip-wide programme of natural flood management measures.

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