Published: April 13, 2010
'Shore up Stert Island to protect Burnham from flooding' - councillor

A town councillor has this week called on the Environment Agency to introduce huge new granite boulders on the Western side of Stert Island to protect Burnham-On-Sea from flooding.

Councillor Neville Jones told Monday night's Town Council meeting that the island acts as a barrier to flooding for Burnham, reducing the impact of storms, and needs to be shored up.

"Stert Island is Burnham's first line of defence against flooding. I have constantly asked for it to be shored up and protected, but nothing is done and the island is gradually vanishing," he said.

"Only a few years ago it used to be 25 acres of green land where sheep would graze in summer but now there is very little of it left and the island often gets breached in four places on very high tides."

"We need granite boulders quickly introduced on the other side of the island or it will go."

But the Environment Agency team - who were at Monday's meeting to outline their plans for managing the Steart Peninusula - said spending money on protecting Stert Island could not be justified.

The Agency's Nigel Bennett said: "We can't justify spending money on shoring up the island because it is only agricultural land and relatively few properties would be protected."

But Cllr Jones hit back, saying: "The island is the main defence for 20,000 homes in Burnham - that should be enough to justify funding."

Alan Lovell, Chairman of the Regional Flood Study Group, confirmed: "The island is not nationally recognised as a piece of flood defence," although he said everything would be done to protect the Burnham area from flooding.

The Environment Agency's is examining four options to reduce the potential for flooding in the area.

They include doing nothing, continuing with normal day-to-day coastal management, taking water off the Severn to form a new channel, and also taking water from the River Parrett to create new defences. A public consultation period on the plans will end on April 20th.


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