SOMERSET residents have just over three weeks left to have their say over plans for a £100m barrier to prevent flooding in and around Bridgwater.

Sedgemoor District Council and the Environment Agency (EA) have put together designs for the project, which would be built across the River Parrett near the town’s Express Park.

The finished barrier is expected to protect around 11,300 homes and 1,500 businesses from flooding.

The two bodies have now formally asked the government to approve a Transport and Works Act Order (TWAO) – which is needed before any form of construction can begin.

A TWAO is needed for any project which will “interfere with tidal waterways” which can be navigated by boats – such as the River Parrett near Chilton Trinity, where the barrier will be built.

The Somerset Rivers Authority (SRA) has been supporting the council and the EA in the project, which is being partially funded by central government and the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

Councillor David Hall, who chairs the SRA, explained the next steps to his fellow board members at a meeting held in Shepton Mallet on Friday (January 10).

He said: “After the consultation ends on February 13, the secretary of state will make her decision – we may need a public enquiry. It is likely to take about a year.”

Mr Hall – whose Bridgwater East and Bawdrip division includes part of the barrier site – said the TWAO was a huge step forward in ensuring the barrier could be delivered and operational by 2024.

He said: “I’ve lived in the Bridgwater area all my life and seen how the town has grown.

“We need this barrier sooner rather than later. It will be a hugely important safeguard.

“We look forward to the successful approval of the TWAO and seeing the project proceed to its next phase.”

In addition to the barrier itself, the project will also improve riverside floods plans for the villages around Bridgwater, and create fish and eel passes on both the River Parrett and the River Tone to aid with migration.

A new footbridge will be created over the Parrett as part of the barrier.

At its meeting on Thursday (January 16) Bridgwater Town Council agreed its response to the consultation, stating: "Bridgwater Town Council confirms strong support for the delivery of the Bridgwater Tidal Barrier and the scheme as submitted for the vital flood defence that it will provide for Bridgwater and the surrounding area.

"In doing so, the Town Council supports the long term ambition of increased navigation on the Parrett linked to the canal, which the Town Council will play an active part in seeking to secure, but which the Town Council recognise cannot be directly advanced by the Bridgwater Tidal Barrier project."

For more information on the tidal barrier proposals, visit

To respond to the consultation, email (with ‘Bridgwater Tidal Barrier’ in the subject line) by February 13.