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Dredge the rivers: Somerset has to be
a special case

Westhay, Somerset  


The Environment Agency (EA) has announced that dredging on small areas of the River Parrett in Somerset will begin in March. They have also floated multifarious plans for future ‘soft’ flood defences that are all designed to slow the movement of water from upland areas that contribute to lowland flooding.

As part of these plans, the engineers have mooted the idea that dredging rivers only contributes to moving water faster to flooded areas. On some of England’s rivers that is undoubtedly the case but the Somerset Levels and Moors have to be treated as a special case.

Central Somerset is essentially a big basin that can fill up with water and the Parrett and Brue (along with the man-made drains) are the only way to get water into the Bristol Channel. They have to work efficiently to utilise fully the seven hours every day of low tide and need to be dredged at least to the middle of the Moors.



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