UK flood repairs get under way

Fri, 16 May 2014

Land and Water Services Ltd have commenced dredging work on the River Parrett in Somerset as part of the UK’s response to recent flooding events.

As reported briefly in MJ (March 2014), large parts of the UK, and indeed mainland Europe, are coming to grips with the aftermath of the serious flooding that affected large areas over the winter period from 2013 to 2014. The seemingly relentless onslaught of Atlantic low pressure systems, over an exceptionally long period of time resulted in large areas of rural land being flooded by rivers bursting their banks due to the torrential and prolonged rainfall. The UK faced the threat on two fronts. As well as the damage to land and property inland, storm force winds took their toll on coastal defences, many overcome by the exceptionally high seas and tidal levels.

Mainstream media attention was understandably focused on local and national political themes including, when solving the problems for the River Parrett, an example fitting the expression ‘actions have consequences’ both for individuals and the environment. For the UK, the weather has now improved and along with the mainstream media, water levels have largely reduced leaving the real experts to deal with the complex task of assessing what measures are able to be practically undertaken. The dredging of the River Parrett was one area of attention that occupied the headlines and where action is now being taken.

Land and Water Services Ltd have now commenced phase 1 dredging operations on the River Parrett at Riverside, Bridgewater. Working with the Environment Agency, intensive investigations and assessment has taken place, reducing water levels now allowing work to start. The enabling works were designed to understand and test parameters and constraints in order to ensure safe and successful operations could be undertaken in earnest. Testing has been undertaken to demonstrate the stability of the bank prior to heavy machinery being put in place.

Environmental issues have been investigated including minimising disruption to local population during the dredging and disposal operations. Land and Water are leading exponents of the Environment Agency’s protocol to ‘reduce, reuse or recycle’ material produced during construction works. On the Somerset Levels the company will reuse the spoil on local farmland to provide a beneficial use following recent flooding.

Jayne Hornsby, business development manager at Land and Water, said: "The Land and Water team Fiona Moore, Divisional Business Manager, James Maclean, Managing Director and many others have put a lot time and hard work into this project and it is good to see operations get underway in the region. There is much now to be done but credit should be given to the Environment Agency and all those involved for their efforts so far."

Source: Peter Barker (16/05/2014),-harbour-and-marine-construction/uk-flood-repairs-get-under-way

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