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Somerset flooding and 'winter splash'

Somerset moors flooded  


Since December 2010 the water table for a large area of the Somerset Levels and Moors was raised by as much as 18 inches to create ‘winter splash’ for the benefit of both flora and fauna but particularly over-wintering wading birds.

The designated area – covering 2000 hectares of the Brue Valley – was to be kept under water from November to May each year and farmers who were affected drew Environmental Stewardship Scheme payments from English Nature of up to £355 per hectare plus supplements.

The Brue Valley drainage plan was supported by Government, Natural England, The Environment Agency and the EU and spent in the region of £2 million installing new sluices to raise and maintain the water table across twelve Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) situated on the Somerset moors.

The Drainage Board claimed at the time that the new gear would allow them to have better control of water levels in the event of flooding; allowing them to move water more efficiently but this simply has not been the case.

Had the water table on the moors been at natural (lower) level before the rain came they could inevitably have coped with more water and the environment benefits could still have been achieved.

Discuss amongst yourselves …



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