Work has started on two major flood protection schemes in Somerset as part of the 20-year plan to fight flood risk on the Levels and Moors.
Skanska is delivering the projects on the A372 at Beer Wall and Muchelney for Somerset County Council.
Drawn up after the area suffered major flooding last winter (see image), the Somerset Levels and Moors Flood Action Plan includes controversial dredging of the rivers Parrett and Tone, as well as creating permanent pumping sites.
Under the latest projects, four culverts will be installed at Beer Wall to the east of Langacre Rhyne, which runs alongside the Sowy under the A372, which was flooded at this spot for several weeks last winter.
A 500m stretch of the Drayton Road from Muchelney will be raised, by over 1.2m at its lowest point, to maintain access to the village, which was cut-off for a prolonged period earlier this year.
Environment Agency asset performance team leader John Rowlands said: “All the schemes are part of the Somerset Levels and Moors Flood Action Plan being delivered by a range of agencies and illustrate the amount of cooperation and work that has been undertaken between all the organisations involved.
“This is the first stage in a series of works designed to reduce flood risk in the Sowy and Kings Sedgemoor Drain river systems. We are working on a range of possible options for the wider improvement scheme. Some of the work suggested is long term and looks at the catchment as a whole. This work underlines the importance of and commitment to delivering the Flood Action Plan.”
The Environment Agency revealed earlier this month that it would spend £10M this financial year on flood prevention in the Somerset Levels.
Ministers were heavily criticised earlier this year for a series of emergency measures announced for the area.