Somerset Rivers Authority is to mark the successful completion of 2.2km of maintenance dredging along the River Parrett – by following on with 750 metres of new dredging.

The Parrett Internal Drainage Board and the Environment Agency have worked as SRA partners to make sure that dredging continues as efficiently as possible, with only a break for Easter and site and compound handovers.

River Parrett maintenance dredging from floating platform with hopper barge and hills in background for media

The dredges are designed to reduce the risks of flooding and protect Somerset people – their homes, businesses and roads.

The Parrett IDB was funded by the SRA to specify and supervise maintenance dredging upstream of Northmoor Pumping Station.

It’s the biggest dredge the Parrett IDB has ever done. Equipment used included a 300-tonne crane, a 45-tonne excavator with a reach of 22 metres, and a tug boat for pushing and pulling hopper barges loaded with silt by machines placed on floating pontoons.

Cllr John Osman, Somerset Rivers Authority chairman, said: “Many thanks to the Parrett IDB for managing the delivery of this vital piece of work on time and within budget – and to the Environment Agency for supporting this maintenance dredge on a main river. It’s a splendid example of partners working within the SRA to protect Somerset communities.”

Peter Maltby, Parrett IDB chairman, said: “I’m very proud of the work that the Parrett IDB and our contractors WM Longreach have done for the SRA and the people of Somerset. We’ve done a lot to maintain the benefits of the £6million dredging of the Parrett and Tone that was done after the awful floods in 2014.”

New dredging downstream of Northmoor pumping station is due to begin in April. SRA funding has enabled the Environment Agency to award a contract for designing and carrying out this project to Galliford Try, Black & Veatch and Land & Water. These two companies completed the 8km 2014 dredge of the Parrett and Tone. Work over the next few months will mostly be done from floating platforms on the river, with a short section being completed from the bank.

The SRA is working on a dredging strategy to establish the most cost-effective techniques and sites for future schemes. To achieve further benefits, the SRA is also funding the monitoring of silt build-up so that future maintenance dredging can be done at the best times and locations.

The SRA’s 2015/16 interim funding from the Government, Somerset councils and the Somerset Drainage Boards Consortium, plus the SRA’s Growth Deal money from the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership, are being used to pay for the 2.2km maintenance dredge and the forthcoming 750m new dredge.


PHOTO: This maintenance dredge of 2.2km of the River Parrett is the biggest dredge the Parrett Internal Drainage Board has ever done.