LOCAL authorities in Somerset have been urged to submit bids to a new Government fund aimed at improving resilience to flooding and coastal erosion.
Ministers have pledged £200 million for the initiative which will be used to apply and test innovative ways of tackling both threats.
Twenty-five locations will be selected for funding and now Bridgwater and West Somerset Conservative MP Ian Liddell-Grainger says both Somerset West and Taunton and Sedgemoor councils should be taking part in the bidding process.
He said there could be few areas of the country facing as comprehensive a range of threats from both flooding and marine erosion – or where there was such a pressing need for creative solutions.
“Thanks to generous Government support we have started to make up ground on the years of inactivity and neglect which led to the disastrous floods of 2014 on the Levels – but there is still a need to devise a flexible and effective long-term flood prevention strategy,” he said.
“Meanwhile on the coast the steady erosion process is now threatening roads and homes and land loss is likely to continue at an accelerating place as sea level rises.
“We cannot put the whole of the West Somerset coast behind a 50-foot concrete barrier but solutions have to be found – and an innovation fund allocation to this area would represent money very well spent.”
The funding was announced by Environment minister Rebecca Pow – Taunton’s Conservative MP- and, said Mr Liddell-Grainger: “Given her intimate knowledge of the potentially devastating impact of inland flooding and the fact that West Somerset is disappearing into the sea at such an alarming rate I would expect her to be supporting any bid either of the two local authorities decide to make.”