DUNBALL Sluice, near Bridgwater is set to be refurbished in order to give the tidal defence asset an extra 25 years of use.

The Environment Agency has confirmed a £4.2m refurbishment scheme to renew mechanical and electrical components in Dunball Sluice.

It controls flood flows in the King’s Sedgemoor Drain (KSD) and the River Sowy, which is also known as the River Parrett Flood Relief Channel.

Rachel Burden of the Environment Agency said: “The project will extend the life of Dunball Sluice, reducing the potential for failure and mitigate the risk of flooding to properties and internationally and nationally important freshwater habitats.”

Bridgwater Mercury: Work begins in 1971.Work begins in 1971.

The scheme, funded by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) with £650,000 partnership funding provided by Somerset Rivers Authority, will begin at the end of July 2022 and is programmed to be completed by 2024.

Cllr Mike Stanton, chair of Somerset Rivers Authority (SRA), said: “I’m delighted that the SRA is helping to make this work possible. Dunball Sluice is a crucial facility. Refurbishing it boosts the SRA’s own major scheme to increase the floodwater-carrying capacity of the River Sowy and King’s Sedgemoor Drain.

“Sowy-KSD works are being delivered for the SRA by the Environment Agency up until the end of October. As partners we’re working together to reduce flood risks across a large part of the Somerset Levels and Moors.”

Dunball Sluice is a critical structure in the defence of the Somerset Levels and Moors and became operational in 1971.

It sits at the location where the King’s Sedgemoor Drain (KSD) meets the tidal River Parrett.

Four gated culverts control water levels by releasing water into the Parrett when the tide permits whilst preventing the tide from bringing saltwater into the KSD, which would impact nationally and internationally designated freshwater habitats.

The refurbishment will also make environmental improvements to encourage the migration of eels and improve access for otters between the KSD and the River Parrett.

The work will not have an impact on the continuing operation of the sluice and all refurbishment works will be undertaken within the compound area.