A new report on possible locations for a Bridgwater Tidal Barrier whittles the number down from seven to five.
The move follows analysis of feedback from a public consultation session, and a stakeholder workshop, held in Bridgwater in March.
A tidal surge barrier is needed to protect approximately 10,000 properties and over 600 businesses in Bridgwater for the next 100 years or more.
It’s a key element of Somerset’s 20-Year Flood Action Plan, a plan now overseen and co-ordinated by Somerset Rivers Authority (SRA).
The Environment Agency and Sedgemoor District Council are working together on the barrier project, supported by the SRA using Growth Deal money from the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership.
The aim – subject to appropriate funding and approvals – is to have a barrier built and working by 2024.
The five locations shortlisted are numbers 2, 4, 5, 6 and 7. Work now being done by consultants CH2M Hill on these possible sites includes hydraulic modelling, geotechnical assessment, concept design, environmental assessment, costing and economic assessment.
The next public consultation about these options will be held in September 2016, in Bridgwater Arts Centre.
If you have any questions about the project, please email: Bridgwater.Barrier@environment-agency.gov.uk
Story continues below map showing the seven locations, with more details about the different sites.
The consultation report states: “Location 2 does have some advantages in terms of its relationship with the KSD, larger storage capacity and potential to include a road crossing. Should additional external funding be available, for example through wider private sector development, and delivery be within the project timescale, this location could be viable if navigation issues could be resolved.
“Location 4 is smaller in scale overall than the structures that would be required at 2 and 3, it avoids the issues with navigation to Dunball Wharf and it offers some potential for facilitating future development to the north of Bridgwater. Therefore although the costs are relatively high and there could be significant geomorphological impacts it is taken forward to short list assessment.
“Locations 5, 6 and 7 are narrower, the barrier is smaller and therefore cheaper to construct, maintain and operate. Access is generally good to these sites although there are some spatial constraints that would impact on construction and the arrangement of the permanent works. The proximity to a historic landfill on the west bank, services crossing the river channel and the lack of space to improve defences downstream of the barrier locations are all disadvantages of these locations. These three locations will be taken forward to the short list assessment stage.”
The main disadvantages of Location 1 were judged to be:
- Very large barrier with very high capital and maintenance costs
- Significant downstream bank raising to mitigate for impact of barrier on water levels
- Within Severn Estuary environmentally designated sites
- Remote site, access for construction and operation difficult
The main disadvantages of Location 3 were judged to be:
- Large barrier with high capital and maintenance costs
- Potential for significant geomorphological impact on the Parrett
- Not suitable for combining with road crossing
The consultation report and feedback can also be found on Sedgemoor District Council’s website: http://www.sedgemoor.gov.uk/bridgwaterbarrier