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Environment Agency
Environment Agency community flood risk management update Wessex
August 2015
Welcome to the Environment Agency's community update. If there is a subject of particular interest to you that we've not included, please let us know and we'll update you next time. Here are some current topics of interest.
Flood Warden training - the first in Somerset
Routine river maintenance in Somerset
Completed computer modelling reconfirms benefits of dredging and additional pumping
Somerset Community Open Day
Ring banks
Flood Warden training - the first in Somerset
Flood wardens from Moorland and Fordgate have been the first in Somerset to receive flood warden training. The Environment Agency and the Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue service delivered training modules on 'understanding flood risk', 'role profiles', 'emergency response' and 'risk awareness' that were developed by the Cornwall Community Flood Forum.

The Cornwall Community Flood Forum has developed the Community Resilience Toolkit, which supports communities to prepare, respond and recover from flood events. The toolkit has been developed with support from communities, volunteers, businesses, the Environment Agency and the Fire Service. The purpose of the guidance series is to help volunteers to act safely while providing the best level of support to their community during an emergency, such as flooding.

We will be continuing to deliver this training to communities across Somerset over the next 2 months. Some of the communities attending include Burrowbridge, Oath, Aller, Williton, Roadwater and Porlock.

We are continuing to work with Somerset County Council assisting the communities across the Somerset Levels & Moors to develop flood plans. The plans set out the course of action for the flood wardens before, during and after a flood. 
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Routine river maintenance in Somerset
The Somerset field teams respond when there is a flooding or pollution incident, but this isn't the whole story. Our 'day job' is to check and maintain Environment Agency assets - flood protection/defence structures, for example pumping stations, mechanisms such as flaps, and river banks. We also maintain rivers on a prioritised basis.

Our largest structures are the banks of our main rivers. During summer months we maintain these banks, removing vegetation with excavators or improving water flows (known as conveyance) by using weed-cutting boats. In winter months we hand cut the banks of streams in urban locations. If we don't cut the vegetation, it can cause the banks to become unstable during high river flows. In total we spend nearly £3.5m each year maintaining 874 km of river banks in Somerset.

We also carry out small scale civil engineering works, such as the new penning door on the River Sheppy at Lower Godney.

Find out more here 
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Completed computer modelling reconfirms benefits of dredging and additional pumping
In addition to the weed cutting and river bank maintenance done to keep channels flowing freely, we also use dredging in locations where it makes an effective contribution to reducing flood risk.

To fully understand the benefits of dredging and additional temporary pumping on the Somerset Levels and Moors, we have carried out computer modelling. The modelling shows that dredging work combined with the use of temporary pumps will help to reduce flood risk for this part of the Somerset Levels in the event of an extreme flood, like that experienced in 13/14 which was the wettest winter on record. It also demonstrates the real benefits for local residents of the extra investment made by the Government in reducing flood risk in this area.
The modelling results have been shared with Somerset Rivers Authority partners to help inform future flood risk work. You can download a briefing note here
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Somerset Community Open Day
Following a very busy period recovering from the wettest winter on record, we decided the time was right to show local people the work we have achieved in Somerset to reduce flood risk to local communities on the Somerset Levels and Moors. We thought it would also help us continue to get to meet and understand the views of local people and for us to highlight the wide breadth of our work to make Somerset a better place for people and wildlife – after all we do so much more than managing flooding risk.

On Saturday 4 July 2015 we opened our doors to some of our iconic sites across Somerset.

More than 230 people visited us on the day at various locations – with the most popular attractions being our Bradney Depot and Northmoor and Currymoor pumping stations.

Bradney depot was our hub for the day, and we took the opportunity to display some of our kit ranging from robo flails to excavators and pumps.

Members of our Fisheries, Hydrometry and Telemetry, Sampling and Flood Mapping teams were available to explain other work we do to protect the environment.

We teamed up with partner organisations including the Internal Drainage Board, RSPB, Hawk and Owl Trust, Somerset Wildlife Trust and Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group. From Bradney we hosted a mini bus tour around the Area.

Our satellite locations were Currymoor, Northmoor, Gold Corner, Huish Episcopi and West Sedgemoor pumping stations and our Area Incident Room in Bridgwater.

We'd like to say thank you to all of you that came along, we hope you enjoyed it. If you have any enquires or feedback, please feel free to let us know. Following on from the feedback we have already received we hope to hold another event in the future. 
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Ring banks
Earlier this year, the Environment Agency on behalf of the Somerset Rivers Authority (SRA), undertook a desk based assessment to identify potential locations which could benefit from permanent ring bank protection if funding and the opportunity arose. The most feasible sites for ring bank defences were identified as Chadmead, Fordgate and Moorland. Before carrying out any further detailed appraisal we need to understand if there is strong support for this within the community.

We recently held a public consultation with residents from the 3 locations to gather their views and are currently collating the responses. A summary of the responses for each location will be produced and made available soon. 
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If you have any questions about the above articles or any Environment Agency led work please contact us at

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