SRA Annual Report 2019-20: Sampford Brett and Woolston Moor

De-silting the Sampford Brett Flood Alleviation Culvert

The 1992 Sampford Brett Flood Alleviation Culvert has been cleaned out for Somerset Rivers Authority by Somerset West and Taunton Council. This long culvert goes through the centre of the village, under the main road, past the church and village hall and down to the Doniford Stream. It takes excess water from the small but fast-flowing stream which also runs through Sampford Brett.

The culvert was built in response to numerous cases of flooding and it has reduced historic flood risks. However, several recent incidents raised concerns about its maintenance and capacity.

Unfortunately – for some unknown reason – the culvert was never formally adopted by any responsible body and no maintenance records could be found. These facts did not emerge until shortly before West Somerset Council ceased to exist. The council did not have the money, resources or expertise to de-silt the culvert, which is around 325 metres long.

So as part of its remit to sort out difficult flooding problems, and deliver additional maintenance for important assets, the SRA agreed to fund a one-off cleansing as part of a package of measures to get things back up to scratch.

Further activities are to be undertaken in the area around the culvert’s outfall pipe into the Doniford Stream, where there are problems with silting-up, backflow and erosion.

Questions about riparian responsibilities will also be explored with residents, particularly as regards ownership and maintenance of the small fast-flowing stream that runs through the village. The SRA funds a part-time Riparian Responsibilities Officer, who has been talking to Michele Boobyer of Somerset West and Taunton Council about engaging with villagers. Ms Boobyer (pictured below in Sampford Brett) is leading this project.

Michele Boobyer.

 Woolston Moor, near Sampford Brett

Tied in with work at Sampford Brett, a CCTV inspection was made of a large 160-metre long culvert to the east of Woolston Moor. The area used to flood often, so a system of culverts was built to take excess surface water off hills away from houses.

Water flows into the main culvert from two other culverts. Out of it, water then goes down to a large open pond which feeds into the Doniford Stream above Sampford Brett.

There were concerns that there might be blockages within the culvert, but inspection found no significant problems.

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