Somerset Levels and Moors
  • Devonport Lecture Theatre, Portland Square Building, Plymouth University

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In the winter of 2013/2014 the Somerset Levels and Moors experienced widespread flooding, particularly within the Parrett and Tone river catchments. It is the largest recorded flood event with a severe flood warning being issued for the first time in Somerset. 

This led to the emergency evacuation of residents of Northmoor (Moorland) and Fordgate with residents of the hamlet of Chadmead had to leave their homes at the height of the flood and many other communities such as Muchelney were cut off by floodwater. Whilst the extent and duration was well reported in local, national and international press, the wettest winter in nearly 250 years coupled with record tidal levels and fluvial flows was not seen as the primary reason for what was perceived by many as flooding of Biblical proportions.

The presentation will provide a background to the event, response of the Environment Agency and other Risk Management Authorities during the flood, communications (including social media) and the ongoing engagement with residents as well as recovery work to damaged assets, the recently completed dredging work.

Speakers: Dr Rachel Burden and John Rowlands, Environment Agency.

About the speakers

John Rowlands has worked for the Environment Agency (EA) and its predecessors for 37 years. Starting as a land drainage operative in the Thames area, he moved to Somerset in December 2000. He is currently working as a special advisor delivering EA work streams linked to the Somerset Levels and Moors Flood Action Plan. His substantive role is as an Asset Performance Team Leader overseeing a team of officers who manage flood risk management assets.

Rachel Burden has worked for the Environment Agency for the past 15 years, primarily in flood risk management and the delivery of large capital projects and programmes of work. She is currently the Agency’s Manager for the new Somerset Rivers Authority and is responsible for ensuring delivery of the Agency’s contribution to the Somerset Levels and Moors Flood Action Plan. Since the 2013/14 floods she has been working closely with both the communities affected and a wide range of Somerset partners including the six Local Authorities and the internal Drainage Boards.

All are welcome; you do not need to be an ICE member to attend. 

Please note that there is no charge, but booking is essential to attend this presentation. Please book your place via the ICE South West website.

Contact Natalie Wills for further information (tel: 01752 766230 / email:

Disclaimer: Please note that ICE is not responsible for any views expressed by the presenters or participants.

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