of river near Burnham-On-Sea in raise flooding resilience
has begun on dredging the Cripps River, which connects the River
Brue with the Huntspill, just down to the south-east of the M5
near Highbridge and up to the north-east of Bridgwater.
work is part of a Somerset Rivers Authority plan to improve flood
defences across the area.
of the full 1.6miles of the Cripps is being done by the Environment
Agency on behalf of Somerset Rivers Authority, with long-reach
excavators being used on both banks by a team of four.
Cripps is used by the Environment Agency as a channel for moving
potentially huge amounts of water from the Brue down to the Huntspill
or from the Huntspill up to the Brue.
are controlled via sluices and Gold Corner pumping station, which
dominates the junction of the Cripps, South Drain and the Huntspill.
Corner and the Huntspill were built in the early 1940s. Their
primary purpose was to supply the 4.5 millions of gallons of water
needed daily to help produce explosives at Royal Ordnance Factory
Bridgwater between Puriton and Woolavington. However, for nearly
75 years, the combined system has also helped to prevent flooding
in the Brue Valley and to maintain water levels suitable for farming
and environmental benefits. Nearby are five valuable wildlife
Sites of Special Scientific Interest together with the Huntspill
River National Nature Reserve.
Osman, chair of Somerset Rivers Authority, told Burnham-On-Sea.com:
"Working with our partners in the Internal Drainage Boards
and the Environment Agency, the Cripps was identified as needing
work, so Im very pleased to see it getting underway. Its
a good example of how Somerset Rivers Authority is providing communities
across Somerset with higher standards of flood protection than
national funding normally allows. Every month, were doing
more work to improve our defences."
de-silting of the Cripps is part of a long series of dredging
activities that includes last years 8km dredging of the
Parrett and Tone, this Autumns 2.2km maintenance dredging
of the Parrett, new dredging in the New Year of 750 metres of
the Parrett near Northmoor, desilting 4km of Hixham Rhyne near
Cheddar and 41km of main drain across the Levels and Moors.
dredging the Cripps, the Environment Agency is also going to investigate
whether Cripps Sluice is still needed in its present form or whether
it has become an impediment to flow. Historically, Cripps Sluice
was used to hold water back for the benefit of the big Wiltshire
United Co-operative Society creamery at Bason Bridge but
that closed more than a quarter of a century ago.
The Environment Agency has begun dredging the Cripps River, on
behalf of Somerset Rivers Authority. In the foreground, a hired
18-metre long-reach excavator; beyond, a 15-metre long-reach excavator