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Southlake Moor restored to floodplain by drainage board
Southlake Moor, Somerset
Southlake Moor, which has been restored to a floodplain by the drainage board

Southlake Moor on the Somerset Levels has been restored to a floodplain after £350,000 of investment.

The aim is to make Southlake Moor more wildlife friendly and allow safe control of flood waters during winter.

It is part of an £8m project by the Parrett Internal Drainage Board (IDB) to restore ten floodplains in Somerset.

The work has involved building and upgrading sluice gates, watercourses and culverts which manage water levels and prevent rivers from overflowing.

Floodplains on the levels have been drained for generations for agricultural use.

In recent years, work has been carried out by the drainage board, the Environment Agency and conservation charities to restore this land to its natural state to promote biodiversity and prevent flooding.

Nick Stevens, chief executive of Parrett IDB, said the levels were used for storing water when rivers are unable to cope with the volume of water.

It is then allowed back into the rivers when the river levels start to go down.

He added: "Although in itself Southlake doesn't provide huge quantities of water - we are talking of many millions of cubic metres of water that needs to be stored - Southlake proves piece in the jigsaw."

Meadows flooded

Southlake has the potential to store 1.2 million cubic metres but at the moment holds 600,000 cubic metres and the floodplains across the levels have a potential to store millions of cubic metres of water.

The restoration work has been welcomed by the conservation charity, RSPB.

Richard Archer, RSPB Somerset and Severn Estuary conservation officer, said: "Standing on Burrow Mump, it's fantastic to once again see these meadows flooded and alive with thousands of waterbirds.

"Returning land to favourable condition also has benefits for those that farm the area as well as local communities who can now enjoy an amazing new wildlife spectacle."

The Parrett Internal Drainage Board has carried out the work in conjunction with the Environment Agency, which is responsible for a number of sluice gates and Natural England which owns the land.

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