David Cameron visits Team Van Oord in Somerset

The Prime Minister David Cameron recently visited Beer Wall Sluice on the Somerset Levels, a facility installed and operated by Team Van Oord, to see newly installed pumps in operation.

20 high capacity pumps were brought in from Holland, 13 of which were installed to increase the amount of water being discharged from the upper catchment of the River Parrett through the man-made Sowy and King Sedgemoor Drains.

This overpumping strategy is designed to relieve pressure on the downstream confluence of the River Parrett and River Tone and therefore allow the lower catchment to be drained.  Five of the pumps are located at the Beer Wall Sluice, a throttle to flows in the Sowy, and eight at Dunball Sluice which becomes tide locked on every high tide.

The Beer Wall pumps are capable of delivering 36.000 m3 water every hour and will increase the volume of floodwater passing down the Sowy and King Sedgemoor Drains. The pumps at Dunball Wharf operate at every high tide and remove more than half a million cubic meters of water from the catchment every 24 hours.

This was Mr Cameron’s second visit to Somerset after he pledged to help hard-working people affected by the floods, and he was accompanied by Local MP Ian Liddell-Grainger.

Speaking at the time Mr Cameron said: “The scale of it here in Somerset is immense when you think of how many square miles are under water.

“Clearly people here have faced a very tough time and continue to face a tough time and that’s why we have got to do everything we can to help. So more pumps, we brought in more pumps.

“Everything that can be done will be done and I’ll make sure that happens.”

The whole operation is expected to be complete in three to four weeks if the current fine weather continues.

5 March 2014