River Parrett dredging 'will reduce flood risk'

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Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Villages on the Somerset Levels were badly flooded in 2014

A river is due to be dredged to help reduce the risk of flooding to surrounding areas.

A section of the River Parrett in Somerset between the village of Moorland and the M5 will be worked on.

Large quantities of silt will be removed at the weekend to increase the river’s capacity to carry floodwater.

Villages on the Somerset Levels flooded in 2014. At the time, the Environment Agency said it would provide an action plan for a long-term solution.

Farmer and campaigner James Winslade said the news was “reassuring”.

He said: “Any maintenance is really important.

“That section hasn’t been maintained since maintenance was stopped 25 years ago so its really important to keep this dredging going.”

Image caption,
Farmer James Winslade said a section of the river has not undergone maintenance work for 25 years

The Environment Agency’s chief press officer John Rowlands said: “It’s really complicated but once the jigsaw pieces are in place the benefits will be felt across a much wider area.

“People will still see a very full river because its tidally impacted, but what we will hopefully see is that because the channel has less silt in it the water levels will reduce quicker.

“It is really important that the river is at a level sufficiently low enough for pumping stations to operate.”

Chairman of Somerset Rivers Authority David Hall said: “Work along this stretch of the River Parrett is important for three main reasons.

“Firstly, it will reduce flood risks for properties in the Northmoor area. Secondly, it will help to reduce agricultural damages, particularly from spring and summer floods of the kind that we saw locally back in 2012.

“Thirdly, because of the better possibilities, it creates for managing flows of water around the Somerset Levels.”