Natural England - Somerset Levels Water Level Management Plan

Somerset Levels Water Level Management Plan

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By working together Natural England, the Environment Agency and the Internal Drainage Boards (IDBs) are able to engage with local farmers and landowners in order to manage the water level across the Somerset Levels. This contributes to better maintaining the internationally important seasonally wet grassland and allowing the farming community to continue to manage the land for traditional farming enterprises.

Somerset levels warping
Southlake Moor as it was “warped” (deliberately flooded) for the first time in 20 years. The project replaced water level management infrastructure that allowed this to happen © Stephen J Parker/Natural England

Benefits achieved

  • Improved environmental outcomes – by combining Natural England’s nature conservation expertise and legislative framework with both the Environment Agency’s and IDB’s technical expertise in water management flood protection and legislation a practical management plan to conserve the site could be put in place.

  • Increased engagement with local communities – joint Environment Agency/Natural England/IDBs events and workshops for the community increased understanding and built support for the programme.

  • The partnership project was able to access increased funding to install the physical infrastructure needed. 

The project

The Environment Agency and Natural England’s predecessors initiated this project in 2003 in order to secure local commitment and the practical infrastructure required to manage the water level across the internationally important sites. By working closely together, Natural England, the Environment Agency and the IDBs combined nature conservation expertise with practical water management knowledge and increased community commitment to access to new funding streams to upgrade the infrastructure required to manage the Sites of Special Scientific Interest. 

The improved relationships continues all organisations continuing to cooperate on a range of work areas that are mutually beneficial.

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