Millions to be spent on village riverbanks

PUBLISHED: 08:00 02 July 2011

Congresbury Millenium Green under water due to heavy rainfall.; 12-1-08

Congresbury Millenium Green under water due to heavy rainfall.; 12-1-08

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MILLIONS of pounds must be spent on Congresbury's riverbanks to stop them bursting and flooding 70 nearby homes, and potentially putting lives 'at risk'.

Experts from the Environment Agency have called in engineers to re-evaluate the southern bank of the River Yeo, which runs through the centre of the 
village.

Despite work being done on the north side last year, the agency says the other side will need improving - and possibly raising - in the next two years to cut the risk.

The busy A370 passes over the river and carries about 19,000 cars a day. Farmland, homes and businesses also surround the waterway.

A report from the Wessex Regional Flood Defence Committee said: “A length of the left bank at Congresbury is considered to be too weak to prevent collapse during high river levels.

“A catastrophic failure would be instantaneous with no warning, putting life at risk and causing damage to properties.

“The potential flow path could see the flood water washing cars off the adjacent road, putting occupants at risk to loss of life.

“The works will significantly reduce the risk of bank failure.

“It is therefore cost-effective in the long-term, safer and reduces the health and safety risk.”

The report says the stretch of the left bank, between Congresbury and Pillhay Farm, is considered ‘very narrow’ and would not withstand a rise in water 
levels.

The deficiencies are now being studied, along with previous reports on the embankment, and a shortlist of options and costs will be drawn up over the next few weeks.

Environment Agency spokesman Mike Dunning said: “We don’t want to alarm people as there is no imminent danger.

“We think it will need to be done in the next two to three years, but if it is more serious than we thought the work would be done earlier.”

Mr Dunning said the work will cost millions of pounds and there would be no problem in securing the cash.

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