River Sowy & King's Sedgemoor Drain (KSD) Enhancements Scheme Phase 1: Environmental Statement Consultation

Closed 13 Sep 2020

Opened 15 Aug 2020

Overview

We are delivering the River Sowy and King’s Sedgemoor Drain (KSD) Enhancements Scheme, in the Somerset Levels and Moors near Bridgwater, on behalf of the Somerset Rivers Authority. Our objective is to increase the amount of water that can be held within the River Sowy and KSD systems. This will allow the rivers to store and transport greater amounts of flood water, reducing the duration and intensity of flooding in the area.

A view of the Somerset Levels and Moors during a flood event

We first consulted the public on a number of options for this scheme during 2016 and have since continued engaging with many key stakeholders, landowners and the local community to develop the proposals as shown. Earlier this year we met with landowners, held public information events on 3 occasions in February 2020 and we have continued to work with the community throughout. We have now finalised our design for the scheme which we intend to begin constructing following this consultation.

As part of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process, we have produced an Environmental Statement which is available to view as individual chapters by clicking on the links on this page. The appendices can also be accessed via the links near the bottom of the page.

Our detailed design drawings are as follows:

General Arrangement - King's Sedgemoor Drain

General Arrangement - Lower Sowy

General Arrangement - Upper Sowy

Typical Raised Embankment Design

Water Framework Directive - Typical Backwater Design

Water Framework Directive - Typical Embayment Design

Water Framework Directive - Typical Two Stage Channel Design

Chilton Right Outfall Design

Cossington Right Outfall Design

Outline of the Environmental Statement

The following themes briefly describe the assessed impacts across the area covered by the Proposed Scheme. For further detail please refer to the specific sections within the Environmental Statement.

Non-Technical Summary

Ch 1 - Introduction

Ch 2 - Project Development

Ch 3 - The Preferred Option

Ch 4 - Consultation

Ch 5 - Assessment Methodology

Water

This chapter considers the impact on water resources which includes fluvial geomorphology, flood risk, and water quality issues.

Our assessment shows that the Proposed Scheme will have an overall beneficial effect as it will help reduce flood risk in the local area and will improve the range of aquatic habitats in the KSD and Sowy.

Ch 6 - Water

Flora and Fauna

This chapter describes the impact upon important ecological features such as designated sites for nature conservation, habitats and species, where there is the potential for significant effects from the Proposed Scheme to occur.

It is possible that ecological features, including internationally designated sites and protected species, could be impacted by the construction of the Proposed Scheme. We have taken steps to minimise these effects during the construction and operation of the Proposed Scheme in order to ensure there are no significant lasting impacts.

These steps include refurbishing the structures we use to control water levels in the Somerset Levels and Moors SPA and a Mitigation Action Plan that we developed in partnership with Natural England and the Somerset Drainage Boards Consortium.

Ch 7 - Flora and Fauna

Cultural Heritage

This chapter includes both designated and non-designated assets which includes but not limited to World Heritage Sites, Scheduled Monuments and Conservation Areas, archaeological sites and historic landscapes.

The Proposed Scheme lies in a landscape with high archaeological potential including battlefields and prehistoric trackways. We will put in place archaeological monitoring throughout the construction period where required to ensure that we do not cause any lasting damage to anything of cultural heritage value.

Ch 8 - Cultural Heritage

Landscape

This chapter identifies and assesses the significance of and the effects of change resulting from the Proposed Scheme on: (a) the landscape as an environmental resource in its own right and (b) on people’s views and visual amenity.

We have concluded that there will be some temporary significant negative visual impacts while the Proposed Scheme is under construction. Operational impacts will have a short term moderate to negligible landscape effect and, in the long term, both adverse and positive landscape effects. We anticipate overall that these impacts will balance each other out leaving no significant lasting impacts.

Ch 9 - Landscape

Population and Health

This chapter considers the potential effects of the Proposed Scheme on recreational assets and agricultural land holdings during construction and operation.

We don’t anticipate any significant effects on the local population during the construction or operation of the Proposed Scheme.

Access to footpaths and recreational areas along the Sowy and KSD, along with adjoining agricultural businesses, will encounter minor disruption whilst construction is ongoing however we have identified several measures to avoid or reduce these impacts where possible.

Ch 10 - Population and Health

Noise

This chapter considers noise and vibration expected from haulage movements associated with the construction of the Proposed Scheme.

We have determined that construction traffic will have no significant noise or vibration impact on the surrounding area. However, as best practice, measures to control the noise from vehicles on the road will be implemented.

Ch 11 - Noise

Cumulative Impacts

This section sets out the results of the cumulative impacts assessment (CIA) of the Proposed Scheme.

It is unlikely that the collective impact from the above issues will cause a significant impact on the local area, community or designated sites, even in combination with other nearby schemes, once we have put in place our planned measures to reduce these impacts.

Ch 12 - Cumulative Impacts

Ch 13 - Monitoring

Ch 14 - Summary of Residual Effects and Conclusions

References, Abbreviations and Glossary

Appendix A - Environmental Statement Figures Part 1

Appendix A - Environmental Statement Figures Part 2

Appendix B - CLOPUD

Appendix C - Strategic Level Habitats Regulations Assessment

Appendix D - Project Level Habitats Regulations Assessment stage 1 and 2 reports

Appendix E - Water Framework Directive (WFD) Assessments

Appendix F - Ecology Survey Reports

Appendix G - Natural Flood Management Options and Research

Appendix H - Design Drawings

Appendix I - Landscape Master Plan

Appendix J - Mitigation Action Plan (MAP)

Appendix K - Environmental Action Plan (EAP)

Appendix L - Arboricultural Impact Assessment (AIA) and Arboricultural Method Statement (AMS)

Appendix M - Consultation Responses

Appendix N - Landscape and Maintenance Management Plan (LMMP)

Appendix O - Cultural Heritage Supporting Studies

Please contact us if you have any problems accessing the documents in this consultation.

Why We Are Consulting

An Environmental Statement outlines the environmental impacts of the scheme and summarises key findings of the Environmental Impact Assessment process.

We are required under The Environmental Impact Assessment (Land Drainage Improvement Works) (Amended) Regulations 2017 to produce an Environmental Statement and make it available for consultation for 30 days. The purpose of this is to allow interested parties to provide comments to us on the assessed environmental impacts.

Having read our Environmental Statement, we invite you to provide your comments to us for our consideration before construction begins. Please either complete the survey at the bottom of this page or email us at sowy.ksd@environment-agency.gov.uk. The last date for submitting comments is 13 September 2020.

We ask that responses submitted using the survey on this page should be anonymous and not personally identifiable, e.g. using names or addresses. If you wish for your identity to be known or to include personal information as part of your response, please email your response to sowy.ksd@environment-agency.gov.uk.   

Should you have any problems with using the survey, you can reach us on 07950 955 527 for further assistance. If we do not receive any responses to this consultation that may cause us to revisit our designs, within this time period, then we will proceed with the proposal as described here. We anticipate that work on site will commence in Autumn 2020.

What Happens Next

This consultation is now closed. Your feedback will be shared with the project team and considered in determination. For assistance, please contact Sowy.KSD@environment-agency.gov.uk

Audiences

  • Members of the public with an interest in the river, the species and conservation
  • Members of the public
  • Elected representatives, including MPs
  • Local councils
  • Local authorities
  • District and parish councils
  • Environmental bodies
  • Land owners
  • Drainage associations
  • RFCCs
  • Elected representatives, including MPs
  • Members of the public
  • Community groups
  • Flood action groups
  • Lead Local Flood Authorities
  • Local Risk Management Authorities
  • Flood Resilience Forums
  • Somerset Rivers Authority
  • Members of the public
  • Town and parish councils
  • Regional Flood and Coastal Committees
  • Internal Drainage Boards

Interests

  • Flood management
  • Habitats and wildlife