Villagers delighted as SRA funds work to reduce flooding

A £170,000 Somerset Rivers Authority scheme to reduce flood risks in Monksilver has been hailed by villagers as “fantastic news”.

At least 15 properties will benefit from works to stop mud and water surging down towards people’s homes from surrounding hills, roads and bridleways.

Cllr John Osman, Chair of Somerset Rivers Authority (SRA), said: “We know that several incidents of flooding in Monksilver in recent years have caused significant damage and distress and clogged up the B3188.

“Residents have tried to prevent flooding by going out themselves and regularly clearing gullies. Different organisations have also made various small improvements to control flows.

“But the big problem is still that the drains in two key places simply cannot cope with the volume of water that comes down off the Brendon Hills. These drains get overwhelmed and blocked and mud and water pours down roads and bridleways into the heart of the village. That’s why the SRA is investing in extra works to improve surface water management in Monksilver.”

The Monksilver works will be designed and delivered for the SRA by Somerset County Council’s Highways Department.

Mervyn Orchard-Lisle, Chairman of Monksilver Parish Council, said: “We’re delighted. This is something we’ve been wanting for a long time, so it’s great that it’s finally happening through Somerset Rivers Authority. We’ll continue to do our bit to help prevent any problems around the village, especially when the leaves fall, but this scheme will come as such a relief to people. It’s fantastic news.”

The SRA’s aim is to launch a two-pronged attack on Monksilver’s problems within the next 18 months. At the northern end of the village, the scheme will include works on Beech Tree Hill to better collect surface water, the laying of a new drainage system, the re-shaping of the Beech Tree Hill-Woodford Road junction and better means of diverting water away from people’s homes.

The southern phase will focus on Birds Hill Lane and the High Street. A large area of land drains into Birds Hill, and the plan here is to increase capacity through new highway drainage and better means of interception.

The scheme will complement earlier projects by Somerset County Council, and more minor SRA-funded activities such as underground CCTV surveying, drain jetting, de-silting near the Notley Arms and natural flood management works upstream at Combe Sydenham. The latter were delivered for the SRA by the Farming & Wildlife Advisory Group SouthWest, as part of the Hills to Levels initiative.

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