A BID to protect more than 1,000 Taunton properties at risk of flooding amid the threat of climate change is to be considered.

Areas including Longrun Meadow and Firepool Lock are included in the strategy, which will see millions of pounds set aside to alleviate the flooding risk and protect homes.

Somerset West and Taunton Council (SWT) and the Environment Agency (EA) have been working in partnership over a number of years to understand the impact of flooding both now and in the future, taking account of how climate change will affect flood levels in the River Tone over the next 100 years.

There are currently 1,031 properties at risk of flooding in a severe flood event from the River Tone and its tributaries, but the impact of climate change means that will increase to 2,548 by 2118 if we do nothing.

A report to the Council’s Executive on January 22 will outline the risks and a number of measures that, when implemented in phases over the next 30-plus years, will reduce the current flood risk to existing properties and mitigate against the future impact of climate change.

The Taunton Strategic Flood Alleviation and Improvement Scheme (TSFAIS) has modelled the risks not just from the River Tone, but from three tributaries that flow into the town centre - the Galmington, Sherford and Mill Streams.

The development of the long-term scheme has been part-funded for the last four years by Somerset Rivers Authority, using Growth Deal funding from the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership early on.

Some additional financial backing for the three short-term priority schemes of Longrun Meadow, Frieze Hill to Town Bridge, and Firepool Lock gates has also been provisionally approved by the Board of Somerset Rivers Authority.

At its meeting last Friday (January 10), the Board reaffirmed its overall support for the TSFAIS. The Board was assured that interventions made as part of the Scheme will have no significant negative impact on other areas, including downstream on the Somerset Levels and Moors.

It provides a framework which can be built on to secure long-term protection for existing properties while enabling the development of key riverside sites in the town centre, including Firepool and Tangier.

Councillor Peter Pilkington, executive member for climate change at SWT, said: “We are serious about climate change and now have a detailed and long term understanding of how predicted increased rainfall will impact the River Tone and flood levels in Taunton.

"While tackling the root causes of climate change, we also need to take steps to adapt to the changes it is creating, now and into the future.

"The TSFAIS will be critical for allowing the town to prosper and develop safely.”

The Executive is also being asked to approve the report as a basis for future investment planning, developing a funding strategy to support implementation of the framework in the long term.

It is further recommended to approve the allocation of £6m capital funding already earmarked for flood alleviation to progress the identified short term priorities of Longrun Meadow and improvements to the left bank of the River Tone (Frieze Hill to Town Bridge); and to allow SWT, in partnership with the EA, to move forward to detailed design of the Longrun Meadow scheme, town centre defence improvements on the left bank of the River Tone, and Firepool Lock gates.

Dr Rachel Burden, EA Somerset flood and coastal risk manager, said: “Every place is different and there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution to manage flood risk in Taunton.

"We fully support SWT's ambition to reduce the risk of flooding, and these recommendations will better protect properties now, and into the future. We look forward to working with the council to turn their plans into reality”.

Consultation and engagement will take place with residents, stakeholders and partners on the individual schemes as they progress.