Somerset Levels river dredging completed on schedule

River silt being put in to the back of a lorry
Image caption About 130,000 cubic metres of silt has been removed from the two rivers at Burrowbridge and given to local farmers to spread on their land

Dredging of the rivers Parrett and Tone on the Somerset Levels has been completed on schedule, the Environment Agency has confirmed.

About 130,000 cubic metres of silt has been removed from the two rivers at Burrowbridge since work began in March.

The agency said the work will help reduce flooding to properties on Curry Moor and North Moor, on the A361 and the West Coast mainline.

Craig Woolhouse, from the agency, thanked residents for their patience.

He said it is working closely with the Somerset Drainage Boards Consortium and Land and Water Services to "share lessons learnt" from the project, and hopes the information "will help shape how this stretch of river is monitored and maintained in future".

Flood Action Plan

The dredging formed the first phase of the 20-year Somerset Flood Action Plan, co-ordinated by Somerset County Council.

About 8,000 metres of river was dredged at a cost of £6m.

Much of the silt which was removed was largely washed in from the Severn estuary. It has been donated to local farmers to spread on their land, in order to enrich their soil.

Bank repairs to the River Parrett have also been carried out at Langport and Cocklemoor.

On average, the river channels have been expanded by a third wider so there is a greater cross sectional area for the water to pass through.

That increases the capacity of the rivers and prevents additional water from spilling into the areas that flooded earlier this year.

Large parts of the Somerset Levels spent much of the winter of 2013-14 under water.

Villages were isolated, homes evacuated and the farming community in disarray amid relentless rain.

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