Proposals totalling more than £20m promising to help prevent significant flooding in the Levels and improve the county’s roads were unveiled by Somerset County Council today.
And in a news conference this morning, it was revealed that some of the biggest schemes could be started and finished this year – before further winter floods.
The schemes would see a road raised near Muchelney to prevent the village being cut off by flood water again.
They would also see £4m spent improving capacity of the River Sowy including raising the A372 to help prevent many homes in Moorland and surrounding areas flooding again.
And a further £12m would be spent on key roads such as the A361 and many other roads around the county to reduce the impact of floods, helping businesses and motorists.
The major schemes were outlined by Somerset County Council at a news conference today (Mon) with the announcement that many of the highest priority plans could be started and finished this year.
“This is a big day for Somerset and we are confident these schemes will significantly reduce the risk of flooding in homes, communities being cut off and main roads shut for weeks on end,” said Council Leader John Osman.
“I want to stress that this is the start, not the end, and we will continue our fight for fairer funding for Somerset.
“But this is an important step for our residents, businesses and communities as we show what we aim to achieve this year to help our flooded communities, what will follow, and what we will do in other areas across Somerset. It shows that we are taking a lead in flooding here and we are delivering for Somerset.”
At a news conference held in the Somerset County Council run Help HQ in Burrowbridge, Cllr Osman said the work would have major impacts in three key areas:
“We are confident that with our partners, we will significantly reduce the risk of flooding on the scale seen this winter in the Somerset Levels.
“We are confident that with our partners, we will significantly reduce the risk of homes flooding.
“We are confident that with our partners, we will significantly reduce the risk of entire communities being cut off for weeks at a time.
“The 20 year flood action plan makes it absolutely clear that we cannot promise to stop all flooding. Instead we are looking to reduce the frequency, depth and duration of potential flooding. That is what today is about.”
Since the floods hit:
- £1m has already been spent by Somerset County Council clearing roads and making them safe after the floods receded
- £5.5m will be spent on surface dressing around 150 miles of roads
- £2.4m will be spent resurfacing damaged roads
- £1m will be spent on deep clean of drains and verges