Flood Control: Somerset

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 9 June 2023.

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Photo of David Warburton David Warburton Conservative, Somerton and Frome

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 23rd May 2023 to Question 185044 on Flood Control: Somerset, what recent discussions she has had with the Environment Agency about introducing further measures to protect (a) houses and (b) the road network in East Somerset from future flash flooding caused by high rainfall.

Photo of Rebecca Pow Rebecca Pow The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The significant rainfall event that occurred on 9 May in Somerset resulted in ‘flash flooding’ due to the intensity of rainfall that occurred in a very localised area, causing fluvial and surface water flooding.

In England the Environment Agency (EA) has the strategic overview for flood risk and managing the risk from main rivers, reservoirs and the sea, and lead local flood authorities are responsible for local flood risk management, covering the risk of flooding from surface water, groundwater and ordinary watercourses.

The Government is acting to drive down flood risk from every angle. In March 2020 we announced a record £5.2 billion investment over six years in flood and coastal erosion schemes to better protect communities across England. Around half of the schemes funded by the programme will be delivered by the EA and half by other risk management authorities, such as lead local flood authorities. Schemes within this investment programme in the local area include: property flood resilience measures to be installed at residential properties in Isle Brewers, Nunney and Frome; pump replacements at the Huish, Long Load, Midleney & Westover, pumping stations; and safety repairs at West Moor Reservoir.

Following the 2021 flooding in Chard and Ilminster, the EA in collaboration with Somerset lead local flood authority has secured funding to undertake a number of strategic flood risk studies to identify longer term steps to better manage flood risk in these areas. This work is due to start this financial year.

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