Environment Agency begins dredging Somerset Levels

The Environment Agency will begin dredging river beds in Somerset today as part of wider Government plans to clear up flood hit parts of the country.

Watch: Tonight: After the Floods

Somerset levels
Water surrounds flooded properties on the Somerset Levels near Bridgwater in February this year. Credit: PA

Read: £20m flooding protection plan for Somerset Levels

Initial work on a 200-metre stretch of the River Parrett will get underway at 9am, ahead of dredging of an eight kilometre stretch of river near where the Tone and Parrett meet at Burrowbridge.

Dredging - where silt and bottom sediment is removed from the riverbed - is part of the Government's £100m 20 Year Flood Action Plan.

The Environment Agency came under huge criticism for failing to dredge the rivers that drain the floodwaters after the south of England was battered by storms.

Flooding throughout December and January of this year is thought to have affected 6,500 homes and businesses as well as leaving some villages completely cut off from the outside world.

Read: Statistics watchdog: 'Flood defence spending cut by £247m'

Advertisement

Relief for residents as dredging of Somerset Levels begins

The Environment Agency has begun dredging the Somerset Levels at the River Parrett. The government agency came under fire during the floods which crippled the south west county, leaving 6,500 homes and businesses affected.