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I am writing as Chair of Somerset Rivers Authority (SRA) to let you know that the SRA has just published its End of Year Report 2017-18, showing what the SRA has achieved over the last year. All district council and many town and parish council areas of Somerset have benefitted from extra SRA-funded flood protection and resilience. By the time all contractors’ invoices have been received and paid, more than £5million will have been spent on actions making people’s lives safer and easier.
I have attached two copies of the report. One has photographs, to help bring works to life, and one does not, to give people the option of printing just text and a few graphics.
I should be grateful if you would circulate copies of the report to all of your councillors, and please feel free to send it to anybody else who you think may be interested.
The report covers key projects backed by the SRA: dredging and de-silting, Bridgwater Tidal Barrier, River Sowy / King’s Sedgemoor Drain enhancements, and the Taunton Strategic Flood Alleviation Improvements Scheme.
It also gives details of various types of work and numerous activities, including pump installation, award-winning natural flood management, moves towards better urban drainage systems, several schemes to reduce flooding on roads, and grants to communities for equipment that will be useful in emergencies.
Because there is no one simple solution to Somerset’s flooding problems, and everyone in the county is affected in different ways, the SRA invests in a wide range of actions to reduce flood risks and increase resilience when floods do occur.
All works are additional to those carried out by other Flood Risk Management Authorities in Somerset. SRA funding is only given to actions that are demonstrably extra and that advance the aims of Somerset’s 20 Year Flood Action Plan, which was drawn up during the awful floods of 2013-14.
The last part of the End of Year Report looks at how the SRA is meeting key Flood Action Plan targets.
One particularly heartening development is the drafting by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs of a Rivers Authorities and Land Drainage Bill. When passed, this will establish the SRA as an independent legal entity that can raise funds for itself from council tax and thus make longer-term plans for the extra flood works Somerset needs. With Government support, the Bill is currently being taken forward as a Private Member’s Bill by the Somerton and Frome MP David Warburton. The SRA is currently pressing the Government to do more to help get this Bill through Parliament into law.
A lot more detail is contained in the report about many activities in many places. I hope you find it relevant, interesting and useful.
If you have any comments or questions, or would like to know more, please contact the SRA on email@example.com call 01823-355111.
Cllr John Osman
Chair, Somerset Rivers Authority