Mike Rodd responds to DEFRA for NABO.
‘Having studied the submission prepared by the Inland Waterways Association, NABO supports its objections to the proposed order as follows:
- Land is required within the decommissioned bypass channel for the future construction of a lock to mitigate the impact of the tidal barrier;
- Navigation over its lifetime has not been safeguarded;
- Insufficient minimum headroom for navigation is permitted under both the vertical lift gates and the foot- and cycle-bridge;
- Detailed design information for the penstocks to be included within the tidal barrier has not been specified;
- Insufficient minimum headroom for navigation purposes has been provided for the temporary bridge across the bypass channel, required while the tidal barrier is being constructed.’
A tidal barrier on the River Parrett at Bridgwater in Somerset is a key part of a 20-year flood action plan, developed after the 2014 Somerset Levels flooding. It would have two vertical lift gates to allow water to be stored and to flow downstream at a controlled rate, or to prevent very high tides travelling upstream and overtopping defences. When the barrier is completed, the EA estimates that 11,300 homes and 1,500 non-residential properties will be protected from flooding. The IWA West Country Branch has been running a campaign for nearly three years with the aim of making the best use of the proposed tidal barrier to enhance navigation on the River Parrett through using the barrier to pen water on certain occasions during the boating ‘season’. The campaign includes promoting the regeneration of Bridgwater Docks and restoring the Barge Lock and Bascule Bridge to reconnect the River Parrett with the Bridgwater & Taunton Canal. This will potentially make a longer route available for navigation, with all the leisure, recreation, tourism and economic benefits that this can bring.