Dredging works – MP says Levels is better off

After a weekend of heavy storms and continuous rain, the Levels looked pretty dry this morning. The Parrett stayed stubbornly between its banks. Crossing Somerset this afternoon, the one place where there did seem to be a fair bit of surface water was around Street and Glastonbury. But even that was not what we might have expected in previous years.

Today MP for Bridgwater and West Somerset, Ian Liddell Grainger claims this is a result of regular dredging. In the wake of the 2012-14 floods on the Somerset levels, the Somerset Rivers Authority (SRA) was created. The SRA has undertaken regular programmes of dredging each year since then.

Mr Liddell Grainger along with Somerton & Frome MP David Warburton, championed dredging the Levels back in 2014. Today Mr Liddell Grainger suggested “the money invested in a rolling programme to restore rivers and other waterways to their design capacity had lifted the threat of catastrophic flooding from hundreds of families.”

Of course it is not just dredging. Major improvements to the Sowey and King Sedgemoor Drain have also helped take water away from the Levels faster and in greater quantities than was possible back in 2014. Mr Liddell Grainger again “By now if we hadn’t actually had flooding it would have been threatening and a lot of local people would have been preparing to re-live the nightmare.”

Whilst this seems a reasonable assessment, those who live in and around the Levels will be all too aware that it is early October. Maybe that is a little early to start tempting the fates!

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