The project examined the potential to develop a Somerset Waterway Network in the rural hinterland of Bridgwater and, in doing so, will contribute to making the case for the construction of a tidal sluice near Bridgwater, thus helping to reduce the significant environmental, social and economic threat of flooding posed by Global Warming.
ABOUT THE PROJECT
Atkins were commissioned by Sedgemoor District Council in November 2006 to prepare a two-part Economic Impact Study of waterside regeneration in Bridgwater and the potential for increased navigation and tourism resulting from the proposed implementation of a Tidal Sluice in the River Parrett, north of Bridgwater town centre.
The study has been completed and the final report was submitted to Sedgemoor District Council at the end of August 2007. An analysis of the findings will now be undertaken and decisions on the next steps for the project will be made in consultation with the Environment Agency and other key partners.
The objective for the study was to provide an independent assessment to evaluate the Council’s view that the tidal sluice would enable higher water levels to be maintained through Bridgwater town centre, which could unlock significant development benefits for the town and the associated waterways.
These potential benefits/impacts have been compared to those that may arise from two alternative options aimed at providing flood control for the area (a surge barrier and raised banks).
The waterway report sets out the likely social and economic benefits arising from the implementation of the Parrett Sluice and the other works identified to allow navigation upstream to Langport and onto the Bridgwater and Taunton Canal in Bridgwater. It also outlines the potential for the creation of a ‘leisure product’ and the increased usage of the waterways for recreational activity as well as short stay breaks in riverside locations.