March 29, 2016
Dredging of River Parrett to re-start to reduce risk of Somerset flooding

The Somerset Rivers Authority is to mark the successful completion of 2.2km of dredging along the River Parrett with the start of an extra 750 metres of new dredging.

The dredges - which are partly-funded by council tax payers across the Sedgemoor area including Burnham-On-Sea and Higbridge - are designed to reduce the risks of flooding and protect Somerset people plus homes, businesses and roads.

The Parrett Internal Drainage Board and the Environment Agency have worked together to make sure that dredging continues as efficiently as possible, with only a break for Easter and site and compound handovers.

The Parrett IDB was funded by the Somerset Rivers Authority to specify and supervise maintenance dredging upstream of Northmoor Pumping Station.

It is the biggest dredge the Parrett IDB has ever done. Equipment used included a 300-tonne crane, a 45-tonne excavator with a reach of 22 metres, and a tug boat for pushing and pulling hopper barges loaded with silt by machines placed on floating pontoons.

New dredging downstream of Northmoor pumping station is due to begin in April. Somerset Rivers Authority funding has enabled the Environment Agency to award a contract for designing and carrying out this project to Galliford Try, Black & Veatch and Land & Water.

These two companies completed the 8km 2014 dredge of the Parrett and Tone. Work over the next few months will mostly be done from floating platforms on the river, with a short section being completed from the bank.

The Somerset Rivers Authority is working on a dredging strategy to establish the most cost-effective techniques and sites for future schemes. To achieve further benefits, the Somerset Rivers Authority is also funding the monitoring of silt build-up so that future maintenance dredging can be done at the best times and locations.

The Somerset Rivers Authority's 2015/16 interim funding from the Government, Somerset councils and the Somerset Drainage Boards Consortium, plus the SRA’s Growth Deal money from the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership, are being used to pay for the 2.2km maintenance dredge and the forthcoming 750m new dredge.


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