SRA Annual Report 2019-20: Introduction to Resilient Infrastructure section
- Extra maintenance works across Somerset to reduce flood risks to roads and nearby properties, including gully-emptying, drain jetting, and de-silting of structures
- Drainage upgrades at Monksilver; drainage upgrades and road-raising at Shurton and Burton
- Big studies around Beckington, Cheddar, and the A38 Blackbird Bends near Wellington
- Designs for a flood warning system at Martock and for culvert replacements in West Huntspill and Mark
Two of the six main objectives in Somerset’s 20 Year Flood Action Plan relate directly to making Somerset’s infrastructure more resilient. One is to ‘Maintain access for communities and business’, another is to ‘Ensure strategic road and rail connectivity, both within Somerset and through the county to the South West peninsula’.
Both these targets stem from the frustrations of 2013-14, when floods closed 81 roads, often for long periods. Countless people suffered difficulties. Businesses lost time and money. 86% of Somerset businesses were badly hit, costing the local economy up to £15 million.
So as it oversees the Flood Action Plan, Somerset Rivers Authority deals with highways as well as waterways. Hundreds of places susceptible to local road flooding benefit from extra maintenance works funded by the SRA. Bigger schemes tackle long-running problems. For example, in 2019, the tellingly-named Water Lane in Burton has been raised up.
SRA studies focus in more detail than ever before on different aspects of flooding problems, as recently around Cheddar and Beckington near Frome. Investigations also strike new ground, as in the catchment upstream of Blackbird Bends on the A38 near Wellington. This is one of the busiest roads in Somerset and one prone to flooding.