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Dredging update No 26 – 22 August 2014

Posted on 22nd August, 2014 in News

Progress over the last week

We currently have 5 gangs working. There is 1 gang dredging on the bank of the River Tone, 1 gang preparing to start work on the confluence of the Rivers Parrett and Tone and 3 gangs dredging on the banks of the River Parrett.

Whilst we have removed over 80,000m³ of silt to date; the length that is fully completed remains similar to that of last week with just over 4km of river (8km of total river bank length) dredged. We remain on programme to complete work by the end of October. This week’s visual update of the dredge can be found at: www.facebook.com/environmentagencywessex

We have started using a ramp on a section of the River Parrett between Coates Farm and Saltmoor Pumping Station to raise the excavator up and extend the reach. The picture shows a stripped down version of the ramp due to restricted access.

Due to the combination of low tides and low water levels in the river this week we have been restricted in the amount of time the 2 pieces of floating plant can operate. The tides begin to rise again next week which should help extend operating times and we are investigating other options to work around low water levels.

We have begun an operation licensed by Natural England to relocate water voles which are a rare and protected species. This is necessary as the dredging disturbs their habitat. We have begun successfully trapping water voles on the River Tone and intend to trap these ahead of the dredging teams as we work upstream on the Tone. We have begun working at Bobbett’s Farm again after voles were trapped.


Road and footpath closures and diversions

We have now closed a section of West Yeo road between Coates Farm and Saltmoor Pumping Station. For access, you can currently travel as far as Saltmoor House on the West Yeo road from the A361 at Burrowbridge. The road will be closed from about 7am until 7pm during the week and fully open at weekends. Please check the local road signage for updates and diversions as well as social media. You can also find out more by contacting Kay Wilton at Land and Water Services on 0796 746 1175.

We will be completing the section of dredging which has required the road closure on Riverside next week. Whilst the dredging works will have been completed, we will shortly be arriving in the area to begin further bank repairs. These repairs will include sections of piling to strengthen the riverbanks and will start mid September. A section of the road between the A361 road bridge and Shepherds Drove on Riverside will have to be closed again for these works. We will update you regarding the details of this work in the coming weeks. Those residents directly affected will receive a letter.


Forward look

Over the next couple of weeks we will be:
  • Starting to dredge at the confluence with the Rivers Parrett and Tone on both banks.
  • Completing dredging the section of the River Parrett between Burrowbridge and Meadow View
  • Holding a community open morning between 10am and 12.30pm on Saturday 30 August at the dredging compound at Samways Farm on Riverside in Burrowbridge. Please come along to find out more about the dredging and the other work we are completing in the local area.

We continue to hold Wednesday drop-ins at Gillards (Samways Farm) from 4.30pm until 6.30pm. Look for the Land and Water sign on Riverside, Burrowbridge.


Local asset repairs

As well as completing the dredge, we are repairing local ‘assets’ like river banks, pumping stations, sluices, gates and coastal flood defences that were damaged in the floods.

These repairs include work mentioned in the 20 year plan for the Somerset levels and Moors. http://somersetnewsroom.com/flood-action-plan/


How will we keep you updated on progress?

Weekly updates will be sent to our partners, district and county councillors and parish councils for wider dissemination. We are also putting the latest weekly updates on the Environment Agency’s website: www.gov.uk/government/publications/somerset-levels-and-moors-reducing-the-risk-of-flooding 

We are piloting a designated Wessex Facebook page where we will be posting frequent updates www.facebook.com/environmentagencywessex, alongside continuing to use our @EnvAgencySW Twitter account.