FLAG Press Release re: FLAG Vision for Somerset Rivers Board

Release date: 6/19/2014


The Secretary of State for DEFRA, Owen Paterson, is very keen for more local governance to take a key role in the future management of the rivers and waterways of Somerset. 

A Somerset Rivers Board (SRB) is to be established and a meeting on Friday 20th June is taking place to determine how the SRB will be formed. Currently FLAG has no part in these discussions, but we would like to put forward our thoughts on this.
  • It should be totally independent and allowed to make key decisions, with adequate funding to be able to operate fully.

  • It must have a limited number of key decision makers whose main focus is looking for value and efficiency and are able to communicate clearly as such.  

  • It must have the power to be able to act on behalf of the general populace of Somerset and represent communities, landowners and environmental groups in equal measure wherever possible.

  • It must invest wisely and put any major works out to tender to get best value for money

  • It should have the power to raise it’s own funding, as well as having some funding from the Government.  This could be in the form a catchment charge for all households, properties and landowners that is proportionally based. 

  • The focus of the SRB should solely be concerned with the main rivers and waterways in Somerset.

  • It must be transparent and operate with the greater good in mind, rather than just a ‘closed shop’ of interested parties.

  • It must be a streamlined operation that is unencumbered by unnecessary bureaucracy.

  • Key decision makers must have some local knowledge of the water catchments in Somerset.

  • It should be innovative when managing the water catchment by looking at new solutions and technologies as well as looking at past procedures that have worked well.

We appreciate that there are many different issues surrounding the SRB, but so long as it is lean, mean and efficient with proper funding this could be a massive benefit to the future of the Somerset Levels and beyond.  This is chance that is too good to miss and it must not be rushed through without proper consultation with the people that live here.
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Notes to Editors:

1. FLAG Somerset - Flooding on the Levels Action Group. Please find out more by visiting http://www.flagsomerset.org.uk or join our Facebook group at http://www.facebook.com/groups/FLAGsomerset

2. Follow us on twitter @dredgetherivers

3. For more information or to contact us please email pressofficer@flagsomerset.org.uk