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Branch Campaigns

A new tidal barrier at Bridgwater could enhance navigation to the River Parrett and the ability to access Bridgwater Docks. We are campaigning for the best outcome for waterways in the area.

Campaigning for the future of Bridgwater Docks

IWA West Country Branch is increasing its campaign for the regeneration of Bridgwater Docks and in particular for the restoration of the Barge Lock and the Bascule Bridge in order that navigation can once again take place from the River Parrett to Bridgwater Docks and thus also to the Bridgwater & Taunton Canal.

Docks’ future uncertain

Bridgwater Docks, but not the Bascule Bridge, was leased by Canal & River Trust from Somerset County Council under a 21-year lease which expired in July 2020. The lease included, inter alia, obligations for CRT to maintain the Docks including its lock gates, fixtures and fittings in a fully usable condition. IWA has campaigned for the future of the Docks to be addressed and for CRT to fulfil its obligations under the lease, including restoration of both the Barge Lock and Newtown Lock.

Regeneration of the Bascule Bridge

IWA is also campaigning for the regeneration of the Bascule Bridge, a unique heritage asset within Somerset that was opened in 1841 in conjunction with the Docks. The Association has drawn the attention of Somerset County Council to the damaging effect that heavy goods vehicles are having on the spans of the bridge and on its stone and brick supports (there is a 3-tonne weight limit). The Council has arranged for a specialist engineering inspection of the bridge, as a first step in determining what remedial works are required. IWA has requested that the inspection also covers the work that may be needed to fully reinstate the operation of the spans of the bridge, which it is understood were last raised some 15 years ago.

Bridgwater Tidal Barrier

We support the construction of the Bridgwater Tidal Barrier to protect the people, property and businesses of Bridgwater, However, we are lobbying for the design, construction and operation of the barrier to take into consideration the aspirations of the community. There’s real potential to make better use of their local waterways, to bring leisure, recreation and tourism and hence economic gains to the town.

The Tidal Barrier Scheme and the added benefits that enhanced navigation on the River Parrett and the regeneration of Bridgwater Docks can bring are:

  • That the tidal barrier, when constructed, is in principle capable of penning water at a fixed level of 4.45m AOD (Above Ordnance Datum)  to enable navigation to Burrowbridge;
  • The inclusion of a Visitor Centre and other community facilities both at the tidal barrier and upstream of the barrier (for example Cycle Paths linking Bridgwater Town Centre with the tidal barrier);
  • Restoring the Barge Lock and the Bascule Bridge at Bridgwater Docks thus enabling the reconnection of the River Parrett with Bridgwater Docks and the Bridgwater & Taunton Canal; and
  • Installing navigation infrastructure upstream of the tidal barrier to Burrowbridge and beyond, thus facilitating increased navigation on these river stretches.

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