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30th January, 2015

A partnership, led by The Royal Bath & West Society (RB & W) with the Somerset Wildlife Trust (SWT) and the Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group – South West (FWAG-SW) was awarded £750,000 for the Somerset Levels Dream Fund project ‘Taming the Floods’ at the People’s Postcode Lottery Gala Dinner on Wednesday night.

The award will help fund the natural land management element of the Flood Action Plan – work in the upper catchment to slow the flow of water as well as measures in the lower catchment to allow the floodplains to contribute to the reduction of flood risk to homes and key infrastructure, whilst providing a range of additional benefits to the very special biodiversity that is on the Levels.

Edwin White, Chairman of the Somerset Levels Development Fund, said: “On behalf of the Royal Bath and West of England Society and our partners Somerset Wildlife Trust and FWAG -SW, I would like to express our gratitude to players of People’s Postcode Lottery for making this award possible. Our Somerset Levels Dream Fund project will help reduce the extent of damaging flooding such as we have seen in recent years by reducing water flowing from the upper to the lower catchments on the Somerset Levels and helping support a thriving, resilient wetland landscape. This will help protect this unique environment as well as the homes and livelihoods of the communities who live and work on the Levels.”

David Leach, Brue Valley Living Landscape Manager, Somerset Wildlife Trust said: “Last winter’s floods were a dark time for the people of the Levels. But the process of preparing this grant application has already helped people to come together and dream a brighter, safer and more prosperous future. Now, with this funding, our Somerset Levels Dream Fund project can make this future a reality.”

Ben Thorne, Senior Farm Conservation Adviser, FWAG South West said: “This enables us to help support those farmers and landowners across Somerset who want to make a difference following the floods last winter. This could be tweaks to how land is managed to stop run-off or holding some water back in the upper catchment.”

Mark Robins, speaking for RSPB in the South West said: “A year back the unprecedented floods on the Levels prompted many to dream about how we manage land across the flood plain and catchment for the benefit of both people and wildlife. Often talked of, but rarely implemented, there’s now the chance for real progress following the Dream Fund decision. This will be good for those who live in the Levels, those who farm, and for nature – helping to build resilience into this unique landscape.”

John Osman, Chairman of the Flood Action Plan’s Leaders Implementation Group and Leader of Somerset County Council, said: “This is excellent news – we heartily congratulate the Bath & West for all their efforts in winning this award, which will give a huge boost to the Flood Action Plan work.

“It means a vital programme of land management work with farmers on the upper and lower catchment of the Levels and Moors can now be developed and delivered over a number of years. This is great news.”

For further information and interviews from the RB & W and Somerset Levels Development Fund please contact
Julie Kitching
01749 822235
Julie.kitching@bathandwest.co.uk

For more information and interviews with People’s Postcode Lottery please contact
Kathryn McAuley
0131 243 4966
kathryn.mcauley@postcodelottery.co.uk

For more information from the Flood Action Plan please contact:

Sue Mitchinson
Communications Officer – Somerset Levels and Moors Flood Action Plan
Email: smitchinson@somerset.gov.uk
Tel: 01823 359685

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