Mendip act to help manage persistent flooding issues and help tackle climate change
Mendip District Council is continuing to work with Somerset Rivers Authority (SRA) to ensure we act to help manage persistent flooding issues to protect our communities.
Whilst there is no single answer to Somerset's many flooding problems, and different parts of the county have different needs. The Council, and wider organisations such as the Environment Agency are limited in what they can do individually but working together as SRA partners they can achieve more than would otherwise be possible.
At the August meeting of Cabinet, the Council reviewed the current arrangements in place and future projects planned within the District, which in most instances also impact the Councils commitments to Climate and Ecological Emergency, as well as the financial distribution of SRA funds and benefits to Mendip specifically.
Leader of Mendip District Council, Cllr Ros Wyke, said: "At Mendip we are very involved with leading the work to map out potential flooding spots. We are also supporting interesting remedial works, working with partners on natural flood management, such as the planting trees and creating ponds on top of the Mendip Hills.
"An important defence against flooding is through the planting of trees. Trees help reduce flooding in many ways, whilst also capturing carbon from the atmosphere.
Cllr Wyke added: "We need to tackle flood prevention and climate change together. There is considerable work to be done and by working together with parishes and external bodies we can also address natural flood management schemes to reduce and slow the water which causes considerable challenges downstream of Mendip."
Everyone in Mendip is affected directly or indirectly by issues with flooding, so the SRA invests in a wide range of actions countywide to reduce flood risks and increase local resilience when floods do occur.
Specifically, within Mendip works are taking place in Beckington, with a drainage review to tackle long standing issues in the location, as well as the development of a Mendip Catchment Strategy to ensure that areas of concern are known to all agencies involved and can be acted on accordingly.
Works are under way in Rode to develop flood management as well as a feasibility study for Knapp Hill with completion expected in 2021-2022.
Mendip will also be leading on the development of works to the River Sheppey, which have blighted communities of Shepton Mallet and Croscombe and will see community resilience for these locations vastly improved.
Cllr Matt Martin, Somerset Rivers Authority Board Member said: "Whilst we are making progress and there is a lot of positive work happening in Mendip there is still much to be done. There is outstanding work particularly in relation to the River Brue where local farming landowners and the community are anxious for work which is something the Council are bringing to the Drainage Board and Somerset Rivers Authority."
Hundreds of places across Somerset have benefitted from extra flood protection and resilience works funded by the SRA. In 2020-21, the SRA spent £3.344 million on actions designed to protect people, properties, businesses and roads, while enhancing local environments, in accordance with the objectives of Somerset's 20 Year Flood Action Plan, something that is being continued into 2021-22, with a new delivery plan underway.
You can find out more about Somerset Rivers Authority (SRA) and their newly published annual report for 2020-21: www.mendip.gov.uk/sra