Skip to main content
CLOSE

Charities

Close

Corporates and Business Services

Close

Employment and Immigration

Close

Fraud and Investigations

Close

Individuals

Close

Litigation

Close

Planning, Infrastructure and Regeneration

Close

Public Law

Close

Real Estate

Close

Restructuring and Insolvency

Close
Home / About Us / Building Better Case Studies / Bridgewater tidal barrier

Turning the tide

The Somerset town of Bridgwater is at significant risk of tidal flooding. High water levels in the river Parrett, which flows through the town, are driven by extreme tides in the Severn Estuary. The Severn tidal range, which can exceed 14 metres, is one of the largest in the world, whilst the Parrett is the only major river in Somerset which does not yet benefit from tidal control structures.

Events in recent years, including the collapse of a major section of the town’s quay and tidal flood wall in 2011, have demonstrated the direct threat tidal flooding poses to the Bridgwater community. Due to rising sea levels without any intervention, ultimately, much of the town would become uninhabitable.

In recognition of this, the Environment Agency, working in close partnership with Sedgemoor District Council, has worked tirelessly over a number of years in order to decide how best to manage tidal flood risks in Bridgwater. Technical appraisals have repeatedly concluded that the installation of a physical barrier across the river Parrett – known as a ‘tidal surge’ barrier – presents the optimum solution. The barrier will sit in an ‘open’ position save when tidal surges are predicted to arise, when it can be closed to prevent rising water levels from reaching the town.

The new tidal barrier will be delivered alongside new and improved downstream flood defences. It has been designed to adapt to climate change, coping with expected rises in sea levels of up to 1.5 metres over the next 100 years. Long term sustainable flood protection will be delivered to more than 13,000 homes and businesses in Bridgwater and the surrounding area. The barrier has been designed to adapt to climate change, and to manage the expected rises in sea levels of up to 1.5 metres expected over the next century.

The design will enable the incorporation of a (permissive) pedestrian and cycle crossing, enhancing sustainable transport and local connectivity.

The Environment Agency is committed to being a net zero organisation by 2030 and its plans for Bridgwater incorporate a range of measures to reduce carbon, including the sustainable use of materials, proactive management of waste and efficient design and use of plant and transportation.

How did we help?

BDB Pitmans specialist Infrastructure Planning team, including Sarah Chalk, Joanna Purkis, Jess Hobbs, Pam Thompson and Oliver Spencer is proud to have worked closely with the Environment Agency to secure the necessary consents to deliver this important scheme, building on our earlier work supporting the Environment Agency’s Ipswich and Boston barrier projects.

The Bridgwater tidal barrier has been consented by means of an Order under the Transport and Works Act 1992. This type of specialist statutory authority is required due to the interference with navigation that the introduction of such barriers can inevitably give rise to. Transport and Works Act Orders can provide a number of benefits for those promoting new flood risk management assets, helping them to secure the land interests, construction and operational powers they require.

BDB Pitmans’ team has supported the Agency in relation to this flagship scheme since 2017, advising on a range of consenting, land and complex environmental matters, including habitats regulations assessment and environmental impact assessment.

As lawyers our role involves looking after the detail – for instance, drafting the authorising legislation and dealing with statutory compliance. However, we always keep in mind the ‘bigger picture’ – helping the Agency to address the significant social, economic and environmental damage that flooding can cause – to the benefit of affected communities.

Our Offices

London
One Bartholomew Close
London
EC1A 7BL

Cambridge
50/60 Station Road
Cambridge
CB1 2JH

Reading
The Anchorage, 34 Bridge Street
Reading RG1 2LU

Southampton
Grosvenor House, Grosvenor Square
Southampton SO15 2BE

 

Reading
The Anchorage, 34 Bridge Street
Reading RG1 2LU

Southampton
Grosvenor House, Grosvenor Square
Southampton SO15 2BE

  • Lexcel
  • CYBER ESSENTIALS PLUS

© BDB Pitmans 2022. One Bartholomew Close, London EC1A 7BL - T +44 (0)345 222 9222