A lesson in flood prevention


- Credit: sub

Future generations have been finding out for themselves what is being done to prevent flooding on the Somerset Levels.

Sixth Form students studying geography at Huish Episcopi Academy in Langport got a lesson

in flood protection when they were given a behind the scenes tour of one of the major flood

protection schemes on the Somerset Levels.

Around 30 sixth form students visited the SomersetCounty Council-led works on the A372

at Beer Wall. The council’s contractor, Skanska, gave the visitors a detailed insight into thescheme, the engineering behind it and what it aims to achieve.

The Beer Wall scheme, along with work to raise a road in Muchelney, are being carried out

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as part of the Flood Action Plan being delivered by a range of agencies and co-ordinated by

the county council. The plan will guide water and land management policies and investment

on the Levels and Moors for the next 20 years.

Jim Moncur, Head of Geography at Huish Episcopi Academy, says: “This is a very important

issue for our community and it is great that our students get an insight into the work being

carried out to reduce the impact of future floods.

“It was fantastic to be able to see some of the theory we learn around the issue of flood

management in the classroom being put into practice. We look forward to working with the

organisations involved again in the future.”

John Osman, Leader of Somerset County Council and Chairman of the Flood Action Plan’s

Leaders Implementation Group, says it is important for the students to see what is being done

for themselves.

“The students and schoolchildren in this area would have seen at first hand the impact of the

winter flooding,” he explains. “I hope the visit has given some academic insight i

nto the works but also some reassurance that work is being done to address the issues.

“It has taken a lot of work and close cooperation between organisatios to get these projects to

this stage so quickly. No one can stop flooding, but schemes like this and other actions within

the Plan can, together, reduce its likelihood and impact.”

The Beer Wall scheme will see four new culverts installed to the east of Langacre Rhyne, which runs alongside the Sowy under the A372.

Last winter the road was flooded here for several weeks and then closed to accommodate emerge

ncy pumping. As well as protecting the road, this scheme will allow the Environment Agency to undertake further work to increase capacity of the Sowy.

This first phase of the scheme will see a trench cut into the A372 where the culverts will be

installed in the spring. A temporary bridge will span the trench so that the road remains open for the winter.