Government announces funding for Weston flood scheme

The government has announced nearly half a million pounds to help reduce the risk of flooding in a residential area of Weston-super-Mare.

Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey has announced that schemes across the country will receive a share of £36m announced in the Autumn Statement to improve flood protection.

In North Somerset, £430,000 will be used for a flood relief scheme in Summer Lane, Weston.

The area was hit by flooding twice in winter 2012 and again in November 2016 when at one stage 4,000 litres of water was being pumped every minute to protect local homes and businesses.

Following the 2012 flooding, council officers began investigating what action could be taken to reduce the risk of the area from flooding again. Officers produced a hydraulic model to analyse the flooding and consider possible solutions before commissioning engineering consultants to produce a business case and outline design for the proposed scheme.

£240,000 in government funding had already been identified for the project with North Somerset Council providing £212,000 for the scheme, bringing the total for the scheme to £883,000.

As well as the additional funding, last week’s announcement also confirms the Summer Lane improvement works are part of the government’s national plan to protect thousands of homes from flooding, enhance the environment and bolster economic growth and tourism.

Cllr Peter Bryant, executive member with responsibility for environment, said: “The announcement of the funding is great news and reflects the hard work of our flood team in securing the money.

“When flooding hit the area in autumn 2016, our officers worked round the clock with the emergency services to protect homes and businesses in the Locking Castle area from the flood waters.

“The suggested improvements include raising the current embankments on the existing wet and dry ponds, building a new dry pond flood storage area to the west of the existing dry pond, improving the ditch drainage in the area and adding a new culvert crossing under Bransby Way.

“This scheme will provide properties in the area with a protection level of a ‘once in two hundred years’ flood event. Our modelling suggests that this scheme would mean 93 residential properties are at lower risk of flooding. Of these, 85 households are moved from very significant or significant risk to moderate or low risk.

“Our officers will of course be working closely with local residents, business and community groups over the coming months, and will be holding an information session for people to find out more about the scheme before works starts later this year.”