Somerset Levels and Moors, Plymouth

12 January, 2016 | 18:00 - 20:00

Flooding on the Somerset Levels back in 2014.
Flooding on the Somerset Levels back in 2014.

About this event

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.

Event materials

The following materials are available for download:


Dr Rachel Burden & John Rowlands

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.

Married to Janice for 31 years, they live on top of a hill.

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 13/14 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. As well as a very demanding day job, Rachel also has the joys of toddler twins to try and manage.