Dredging to begin in March
Many of our readers will be interested in the announcement made by the Environment Agency this morning that a Rivers Parrett and Tone Dredging Project will commence in March “as soon as the waters subside”. Whilst this is to be welcomed, doubts remain that the EA is the right organisation to run this work.
The following is from the text of the announcement made by the EA:
The Secretary of State when visiting Somerset in January asked for a 20 year Action Plan to be developed by mid-March to look at the various options for the sustainable management of flood risk on the Somerset Levels and Moors. Dredging is part of that plan. The 20 year Plan will also consider a range of other sustainable options for improving the area’s flood resilience in the long term, such as maintenance, land management and community and business resilience.
The Environment Agency is fully committed to dredging as part of the solution to reducing future flood risk on the Somerset Levels and Moors.
Feedback after the 2012 floods with local people and key partners identified this 8km stretch of river as the area most in need of dredging because of significant silt build up. We will be using the 1960s Tone Valley scheme as the basis for our design, although there have been numerous changes in the river since then that we will have to work around (e.g. toe protection and stabilisation work).
What dredging is planned?
Dredging of an 8km length of the Rivers Parrett and Tone will begin next month provided it is safe and practical to do so.
When will the dredging start?
We will be ready to start dredging by the end of March 2014, provided water levels drop and the banks and adjacent land is dry enough for the specialist dredging contractors’ machinery to work safely.