Flood Control: Somerset

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 28th September 2021.

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Photo of Lord Patten Lord Patten Conservative

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the adequacy of the flood prevention measures in place on the Somerset Levels in advance of winter 2021–22.

Photo of Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

The Environment Agency (EA) is acutely conscious of the impacts that flooding has on local communities in the Somerset Levels and Moors and is spending around £3 million each year on flood risk management asset operation and maintenance in the Levels and Moors. This financial year, the EA is forecasted to spend £1.3 million on repairing 20 assets in the area and will continue to collaborate with partners through the Somerset Prepared initiative to train community flood wardens and improve local resilience to flooding.

The EA has a sizeable fleet of plant and equipment at the centrally located Bradney Depot, including Ultra High Volume Pumps, sandbags, flood barriers, excavators, and other specialist plant and equipment. It also operates a ‘trigger point’ early warning system on a number of the moors, where incident response activity kicks in well before actual risk to property. This allows the use of permanent pumping stations to be maximised and gives the option of bringing in extra temporary pumping capacity if required, especially at key locations like Currymoor Flood Storage Reservoir.

In addition, construction works are underway to enhance the capacity of the River Sowy/Kings Sedgemoor Drain. These works are being delivered by the EA but funded by the Somerset Rivers Authority and will help reduce the flood risk to a number of communities. This work will be completed before winter.

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