WWT given £140k to make Bridgwater tidal barrier sustainable

A charity has been given £140,000 to help deliver a new sustainable tidal barrier.

The Wildfowl and Wetland Trust (WWT) will assist Somerset County Council in delivering “environmental benefits” alongside the new floodgate in Bridgwater.

The money will go towards increasing biodiversity and encouraging wildlife.

Once completed, the £128m barrier is expected to protect around 11,300 homes and 1,500 businesses from flooding.

The WWT, which operates the Steart Marshes nature reserve at the mouth of the River Parrett, and helped to deliver the Meads ‘eco park’ on the western edge of Bridgwater, is expected to match the £140,000 promised by the county council through grant applications and fundraising.

The money will go towards increasing biodiversity and encouraging wildlife once the project near the Express Park is completed.

According to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, the charity in Slimbridge, was initially commissioned for two years to “identify opportunities and projects that would enhance sustainability and deliver environmental benefits” around the barrier area, with this work being funded by the district council.

Nick Tait, the county council’s service manager for policy, said: “They are a charity with extensive experience and success in fundraising.”

Sedgemoor District Council and the Environment Agency (EA) jointly put forward proposals in December 2019 for the new barrier, with final approval granted in January 2022.

Early versions of the tidal barrier plans, which were published in 2018, envisioned a riverside park being created on the west bank of the river, linking up to both the Express Park and Chilton Trinity via a cycle link over the barrier.


While the cycle link is expected to be retained – and will connect to new cycle links to the town centre, funded through the government’s levelling up fund – further details of the park have not been made public.

In December the council agreed to transfer land within the Express Park to the Environmental Agency to aid the construction effort.

However, major construction work on the barrier has been partially delayed following the discovery of asbestos near the new access road being built on Saltlands Lane.

However, Mr Tait said that “detailed design work” would be completed this year, allowing construction to ramp up in early 2024.

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source: yahoo.com