BRIDGWATER residents have less than two months to have their say on the design of the tidal barrier which will protect them from future flooding.

Sedgemoor District Council is working with the Environment Agency and the Somerset Rivers Authority to construct a £100M barrier across the River Parrett just outside the town, to protect an estimated 11,300 homes and 1,500 businesses.

More than 150 people attended the final public consultation event, held at St Mary’s Church in Bridgwater on Friday (December 7), to put their view across.

Those who were unable to make it have until February 1, 2019 to have their say – though the barrier won’t be fully operational for a further five years.

Under the current proposals, the barrier will span the River Parrett between Chilton Trinity and the Express Park – part of which has been purchased to house the operational buildings and a possible visitors centre.

The barrier will have two “vertical lift” gates which will be closed when a tidal surge is forecast.

A spokesperson said: “When a tidal surge is forecast, the barrier gates will be closed until the high tide has passed.

“We anticipate, based on predicted tides, that the barrier will be operated around five times a year for flood protection and up to 25 times a year for

maintenance. Over time the barrier may be used more as sea levels rise.”

Additional flood defences will be provided downstream of the barrier to deal with the extra water, protecting the villages of Combwich, Chilton Trinity and Pawlett as well as the railway line and the crucial A38.

Existing flood banks in these locations will be raised and new secondary banks installed to protect homes and businesses in the event of exceptionally high tides.

In addition, a pedestrian and cycle bridge will be provided across the river, and a new riverside park with raised wooden board-walks will be created.

The barrier will not be used to generate energy through tidal power, but solar panels will be installed on the operating buildings.

A spokesperson said: “By locating the operational buildings required for the barrier on Express Park, we will minimise the land take required on the

riverbank and instead make use of a previously developed site.

“We need to use some land to raise and construct the downstream flood defences. This will directly affect some landowners.

“However, it will not significantly impact land use or farming practices. We are liaising with landowners and will ensure farm accesses are maintained.

“We recognise that construction of the barrier could cause disruption in

Bridgwater. We will work with the local councils and our contractor to minimise disruption.”

Construction work on the barrier is expected to begin in 2022 once planning permission has been obtained from central government, with a view to the barrier being fully operational by 2024.

To download a feedback form, or for more information on the design proposals, visit