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

Closed 13 Sep 2020

Opened 15 Aug 2020

Results Updated 9 Oct 2020

River Sowy and King's Sedgemoor Drain (KSD) Enhancements Scheme: Phase 1                                                                         

NOTIFICATION OF DETERMINATION TO PROCEED WITH WORKS

Regulation 12A(3)(a) of the Environmental Impact Assessment Land Drainage Improvement Works (Amended) Regulations 1999 SI 1999/1783

Applicant: Environment Agency, Horizon house, Deanery Road, Bristol, BS1 5AH

Date of decision: 25/09/2020

 

Statement of the determination

The Environment Agency gives notice that it has determined, in accordance with the Regulation specified above, that the proposed improvement works (River Sowy and King's Sedgemoor Drain (KSD) Enhancements Scheme: Phase 1, herein referred to as the ‘scheme’) to the flood defences on River Sowy and King's Sedgemoor Drain near Bridgwater between Parchey Bridge, Chedzoy and Monk’s Leaze Clyce Sluice, Langport should proceed.

 

Conditions

  1. Monitoring of the significant adverse effects of the improvement works on the environment and the completion of mitigation measures as identified in the Mitigation Action Plan;
  2. Undertake any measures identified in the appropriate assessment (under The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017) that contribute to the monitoring or mitigation of likely significant effects;
  3. Attainment of other permits and consents, as required to deliver the activities of the scheme and Mitigation Action Plan. These permits and consents including but not limited to: Scheduled Monument Consent, Flood Risk Activity Permit and Species Licences.

 

A summary of the result of any consultation and how that information has been taken into account

In accordance with timelines mandated in the regulations specified above, consultation on the Environmental Statement was conducted from 15 August 2020 to 13 September 2020. The Environmental Statement and appendices were publically available online and were also sent to statutory consultees and local parish councils for review. This consultation was advertised in three local newspapers (The Leveller, Bridgwater Mercury and Western Gazette), the London gazette and was posted up on site local to the works area. For every consultation response received, an individual response addressing points raised was returned.

Additional advertisements were made using all the same methods, prior to the consultation described above, to advertise our intention to produce an environmental statement and again, to advertise the determination to proceed.

Consultee

Summary of consultee response

How response was taken into account

Natural England

Supportive of the works on the condition that concerns raised over mitigation and monitoring are addressed. 

Concerns addressed in the Appropriate Assessment conducted under Habitats Regulations.

RSPB

The preparation of a strategic mitigation action plan was welcomed however concerns were raised over the timing of mitigation measures, the water level maintained in the ditches overwinter and the potential reduction in small scale flood conditions that benefit the designated protected site interests.  

Response incorporated into conditions outlined above.

 

Historic England

No concerns raised with the scheme on the condition that the Scheduled Monument Consent applied for by the drainage body is sufficient.

Inclusion of condition relating to the attainment of scheduled monument consent.

Highways England

No comments made

N/A

Member of the public

The integration of a cycle path into the scheme was proposed.

The request was considered but was determined to be outside the scope for these works with scheme funding allocated for flood risk reduction.

Member of the public

Concerns about increased flood risk to local area via rhyne system.

The concerns were allayed with a response explaining how the local drainage system functions.

Main reasons and considerations upon which the determination was based

Under 12A of the above regulations this determination considered that no objection in relation to the likely significant environmental effects of the improvement works has been made.

Under 12 (2) consideration was given to likely significant effects of the improvement works on population and human health; biodiversity; land, soil, water, air and climate; material assets, cultural heritage and landscape; and the interaction between these factors as assessed in the scheme Environmental Statement[1]. This statement identified potentially adverse impacts to ecological features and protected species, potential residual effects on cultural heritage assets and temporary significant effects on landscape. The Environmental Statement has identified measures to mitigate these effects during construction and operation of the scheme in order to ensure there are no significant residual impacts. This determination is based on the delivery of these measures as described in the Environmental Statement.

The Environment Agency is satisfied that the conclusion reached under paragraph 12(2) in respect of the improvement works and the reasons for it address the likely significant effects of the improvement works, subject to the conditions described above and contained within the Mitigation Action Plan.

[1] Available at: https://consult.environment-agency.gov.uk/wessex/river-sowy-and-ksd-enhancements

 

Contact

The Sowy and King's Sedgemoor Drain Enhancements Scheme Project Team

Sowy.KSD@environment-agency.gov.uk

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