Component 5: Dredging and maintaining river channels
The Environment Agency's dredging programme has resulted in the following de-silting, dredging and bank reinforcement work to date:
River Yeo: Ilchester town bridge to Yeovil approximately 3km of silt removed
River Isle: At Hambridge approximately 2km silt removed and 0.5km of Hambridge Mill stream silt removed
River Tone: New Bridge to Knapp Bridge approximately 2km silt removed, bank widening and reinforcement
Long Sutton Catchwater: De-silting work completed from abattoir to Huish Episcopi Pumping Station
Tidal River Parrett: The tidal stretch of the river for 5km downstream from Burrowbridge was dredged last winter, 2002/2003. This year, dredging of another 5km stretch down to the M5 motorway crossing has started. Monitoring work, including underwater sonar scanning, is accompanying this three year dredging trial and will provide data that should enable a decision on the sustainable continuation of such dredging and the production of a sustainable drainage programme.
Component 6: Raising riverbanks
To accommodate rising sea levels, river banks need to be raised. The Environment Agency has undertaken the following works to date:
The consultancy contracted by the Environment Agency is currently evaluating the possibility of raising the banks of the tidal Parrett
An existing flood alleviation scheme on the River Tone near Bradford-on-Tone has been reinstated back to design level - completed October 2003
Low points in the left hand (southern bank) of the River Parrett upstream of Westover Pumping station at Langport have been raised, using natural material - completed September 2003
Existing flood defences in Ham Village, Ham Lane, Ruishton and Creech St Michael are subject to improvement. A road ramp has been constructed in Ham Lane and work to raise the road ramp and improve the flood bank in Ham Village together with a road ramp in Ruishton is planned for the 2004/2005 financial year.
Component 7: Upgrading pumping stations
The Environment Agency has undertaken a programme of pumping station modernisation, which was completed in April 2004.
Component 8: Spreading floodwater across the moors
The PCP is lobbying through the Agri-Environment Review to have landowners involved in this scheme supported through washland incentive payments. The issue of equitable water dispersal and temporary storage of floodwater across moors has been investigated to an extent by the Environment Agency by the work done in the preparation of the Lower Parrett and Tone Flood Management Strategy (LPTFS) which was produce in the summer 2004.
Component 9: Building a tidal sluice downstream of Bridgwater
The PCP is exploring the option of building a tidal sluice downstream of Bridgwater. By excluding all tides, a sluice could bring greater control to the management of the lower river system by reducing the deposition of tidal silt and moderating the effects of tidal surges and rising sea levels.
In 2000, the PCP identified the tidal sluice as one of twelve strategic components key to achieving its vision of both reducing flooding and achieving the long-term enhancement of the environment and the economy.
In the 2002 Parrett Catchment Water Management Strategy Action Plan, the Environment Agency identified the following core actions:
Review the 1995 assessment of siltation at a tidal sluice
Investigate all possible impacts including funding and partnerships of a Parrett Tidal Sluice
Investigate the balance of cost-effectiveness between bank raising and tidal sluice options for optimum timing and keep updated with evolving climate change predictions
Phase 1: May 2004-April 2005
Environmental Impact Analysis of all options, including key environmental issues and surveys
Socio-economic impact analysis of all option
Provide a position paper outlining the vision of what a sluice at Bridgwater could achieve (depending on water quality, levels and flow, structure position and type, and other such variables)
Seek consensus from all stakeholders
Component 10: Upgrading channels to enhance gravity drainage
The engineering measures identified under this component have been addressed in the Environment Agency's Lower Parrett and Tone Flood Management Strategy, due for publication in 2004.