Plans to flood Steart peninsula to create wetlands

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There are plans to create England's biggest wetlands on a peninsula in Somerset, rather than rebuild its deteriorating flood defences.

The £20m project would involve letting the sea reclaim the land at Steart Point between the River Parrett and the Severn Estuary.

The Environment Agency will present the plans to the public on Wednesday, following an 18-month consultation.

Bids for funding are being put to the government and other organisations.

Natural England and the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust at Slimbridge are also involved in the project.

An Environment Agency spokesman said flood defences in the area were coming to the end of their useful life and that it was was "sparsely populated and mainly farmland".

The spokesman said: "One option is to let the land flood to create valuable new wetland habitats which will also help with reducing risk of flooding elsewhere.

"If it comes off it will be the biggest wetlands creation scheme in the country."

The planned wetlands area would cover 500 hectares of land.

This, he said, was the preferred option following consultations with residents and experts.

The plans will be on display at Otterhampton Village Hall, Combwich, between 1430 and 1930 BST on Wednesday.

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