Get involved! Send your photos, video, news & views by texting COUNTY GAZETTE to 80360 or email us
Langport resident calls for Environment Agency dredging action
A LANGPORT resident is calling on the Environment Agency to start dredging the River Parrett and Tone sooner rather than later.
Andrew Lee set up a petition to get the rivers in the Somerset Levels dredged properly to help avoid a repeat of the floods and devastation caused by last year’s wet weather.
The petition has already attracted more than 2,000 signatures and Mr Lee said people living on the Levels have a right to be kept safe.
He said: “The flooding represented a massive cost to business and local businesses, not just farmers.
“We say there is no reason to abandon the Levels as a place to live or a place to work.
“The Somerset Levels have been a successfully managed landscape for over 800 years but now the Environment Agency says the current situation is unsustainable.
“If they [Environment Agency] are incapable of managing the Levels properly and for the benefit of humans as well as wildlife, then they should be replaced by a body that can.
“It is important to show people we are not a tiny minority – this is a massive problem for Somerset.”
A report by Somerset County Council estimates the financial costs of the flooding to the local economy at £7.1 million.
The Environment Agencyanticipates the cost of dredging four kilometres upstream on the Tone and downstream on the Parrett is £4.1million.
They added: “This figure does not include the cost of disposing sediment off-site and a further £600,000 over 20 years would be required for ongoing maintenance to remove sediment which builds up following the dredging work.
“We have also re-prioritised £350,000 from within our reducing maintenance budget towards dredging, tree and vegetation removal on the Tone and Parrett during 2013/14.
“The Somerset Drainage Board Consortium has commissioned a Dutch engineering firm to see if theycan come up with amore cost effective solution of achieving the same outcomes.”
Around £1million is available in grants from the national Flood Defence Grant, Somerset County Council and the Wessex Regional Flood and Coastal Committee.
You can add you name to the online petition by visiting epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/ 45055.
Comments are closed on this article.