Sunday, May 13, 2007

New group to protect Westcountry rivers

A new partnership has been formed to look after Somerset's three main river systems.

The new organisation, co-ordinated by Somerset County Council, will address issues affecting the Parrett, Axe and Brue and their catchments.

With climate change presenting unprecedented challenges, the partnership will look at all issues impacting on the communities, landscapes, economies and ecologies of the three rivers with a focus on community involvement and participation.

There will now be a series of events for parish councils, the farming community and other interest groups such as anglers to meet with water managers and hear about water-related topics and activities in their local area.

Hazel Prior-Sankey, chair of the new partnership, said: "This partnership will provide a platform for debating issues and striving to seek a consensus on the best way forward to meet the challenges ahead. It will also identify and implement projects that would not otherwise be feasible for single organisations to deliver on their own."

Steve Dury, the council's project manager, said: "According to the latest climate change figures the risk of flooding looks to increase, and there will be other impacts including increased risk of sediment and pollution runoff into watercourses..

"This new partnership aims to manage flood risk and water management in a more sustainable way through partnership and consensus, the pooling of resources and skills, and recognising and maximising opportunities."

For more information about the new partnership, the forthcoming community meetings and how you can get involved, contact Steve Dury on 01823 355170.