The first meeting of the Somerset Rivers Authority (SRA) will take place this Friday following the creation of the authority at the end of January.
The SRA will help shape and improve flood management in the county, identifying what work is needed and funding and delivering a higher standard of flood protection. It will also ensure that the large number of separate flood risk management authorities in the county work together through a combined programme. The work of the Somerset Levels and Moors Flood Action Plan will carry on as part of the SRA.
Friday’s meeting will take place at Somerset County Council’s County Hall in Taunton, and will see the appointment of an SRA Chair and Vice Chair. The authority’s constitution will also be formally adopted and the board updated on the Common Works Programme.
Cllr John Osman, Chairman of the Flood Action Plan Leaders Implementation Group, said: “The creation of the SRA is a major development in flood management in the county and this first meeting another important milestone. I’m sure all those involved are, like me, looking forward to getting the authority up and running getting on with the job of reducing the likelihood and impact of flooding in the county.”
Friday’s meeting will consider and make recommendations for the Enhanced Maintenance Programme for 2015/16. This will use interim funding to undertake a range of flood risk management activities across all districts of Somerset, including maintaining the 2014 dredge on the Parrett and Tone rivers. The budget and long-term sustainable funding for the Enhanced Maintenance Programme will also be discussed.
The meeting will be attended by representatives of the Axe Brue Internal Drainage Board, Parrett Internal Drainage Board, Natural England, Environment Agency, Wessex RFCC, and the Sedgemoor District Council, Somerset County Council, South Somerset District Council, Mendip District Council, West Somerset Council and Taunton Deane Borough Council.
Defra is providing £1.9 million funding for the SRA’s first year, with partners Somerset County Council providing £600,000, and between them the Sedgemoor District Council, Taunton Deane Borough Council, South Somerset District Council, Mendip District Council, West Somerset District Council and Somerset Consortium of Drainage Boards are providing £200,000.
Visit www.somersetriversauthority.org.uk to learn more about the SRA and its planned work.
The organisations working to deliver the Flood Action Plan are: Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affair, Department for Communities and Local Government, Department for Transport, Environment Agency, Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group, Mendip District Council, Natural England, Royal Bath & West Society, Sedgemoor District Council, Somerset County Council, Somerset Internal Drainage Boards, South Somerset District Council, Taunton Deane Borough Council and West Somerset District Council.