A lesson in flood prevention
PUBLISHED: 07:00 17 December 2014
Future generations have been finding out for themselves what is being done to prevent flooding on the Somerset Levels.
Sixth Form students studying geography at Huish Episcopi Academy in Langport got a lesson
in flood protection when they were given a behind the scenes tour of one of the major flood
protection schemes on the Somerset Levels.
Around 30 sixth form students visited the SomersetCounty Council-led works on the A372
at Beer Wall. The council’s contractor, Skanska, gave the visitors a detailed insight into thescheme, the engineering behind it and what it aims to achieve.
The Beer Wall scheme, along with work to raise a road in Muchelney, are being carried out
as part of the Flood Action Plan being delivered by a range of agencies and co-ordinated by
the county council. The plan will guide water and land management policies and investment
on the Levels and Moors for the next 20 years.
Jim Moncur, Head of Geography at Huish Episcopi Academy, says: “This is a very important
issue for our community and it is great that our students get an insight into the work being
carried out to reduce the impact of future floods.
“It was fantastic to be able to see some of the theory we learn around the issue of flood
management in the classroom being put into practice. We look forward to working with the
organisations involved again in the future.”
John Osman, Leader of Somerset County Council and Chairman of the Flood Action Plan’s
Leaders Implementation Group, says it is important for the students to see what is being done
“The students and schoolchildren in this area would have seen at first hand the impact of the
winter flooding,” he explains. “I hope the visit has given some academic insight i
nto the works but also some reassurance that work is being done to address the issues.
“It has taken a lot of work and close cooperation between organisatios to get these projects to
this stage so quickly. No one can stop flooding, but schemes like this and other actions within
the Plan can, together, reduce its likelihood and impact.”
The Beer Wall scheme will see four new culverts installed to the east of Langacre Rhyne, which runs alongside the Sowy under the A372.
Last winter the road was flooded here for several weeks and then closed to accommodate emerge
ncy pumping. As well as protecting the road, this scheme will allow the Environment Agency to undertake further work to increase capacity of the Sowy.
This first phase of the scheme will see a trench cut into the A372 where the culverts will be
installed in the spring. A temporary bridge will span the trench so that the road remains open for the winter.