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31 January 2014, 17:31
First details of the Government backed high level plan to help prevent and manage potential future flooding of the Somerset Levels has been revealed.
Environment Secretary Owen Paterson asked for a 20 year “action plan” to be on his desk within six weeks during a visit to Somerset’s flooded communities earlier this week.
Urgent meetings including Local Authorities, Local Agencies and Defra have now resulted in the broad areas that will be addressed by the plan.
Areas covered include:
• Dredging and rivers management
• A potential sluice or barrage on the River Parrett.
• The management of the entire river catchment, from rain falling on hills through to drainage and water storage systems
• Resilience of infrastructure including road, rail and sewage systems
• Community and business adaptation and resilience
• Funding the plan
John Osman, Leader of Somerset County Council, said:
“I am delighted that the County Council along with all key people in the District Councils, partner agencies and Defra have come together so quickly and that there is already significant progress. We will be building on the work and experience gained over many years and the task is to pull all this together in a form that has been requested; but we are confident of meeting the Minister’s deadline. I would also like to stress that a key part of the plan is to talk to the people who really know and understand the Levels and Moors – the farmers, the residents and the communities who live there.”
Owen Paterson requested the “20 year plan” for the Somerset Levels and Moors after his visit to the Environment Agency’s Northmoor pumping station on Monday.
Agencies involved are: South Somerset District Council, Sedgemoor District Council, Taunton Deane Borough Council, Somerset County Council, Environment Agency, Internal Drainage Board, Local Enterprise Partnership.