Langport and the Somerset Levels
Langport is at the heart of the rich and scientifically valued Somerset Levels. Formed hundreds of years ago, the manmade landscapes of the Levels have become some of the most extensive areas of wetland in Europe. They have always been vulnerable, but climate change will pose specific threats of both flood and drought to this low lying area where communities, farmers and landowners, businesses, government and water management experts will need to be resilient to the challenges ahead.
The Levels are an internationally recognised RAMSAR area with Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). They are one of the largest and richest areas of traditionally managed wet grassland and fen habitats in lowland UK. The majority of the site is only a few metres above mean sea level and drains through a large network of ditches, rhynes, drains and rivers. Flooding may affect large areas in winter depending on rainfall and tidal conditions.
Langport itself has not flooded since the 1950s. The town, which is bordered on two sides by the River Parrett, is now protected by a water management system, designed and operated by the Environment Agency, using flood banks, pumps, water storage on nearby fields, and careful monitoring.
Langport’s flood plan brings together the community to enable it to respond quickly when/if flooding happens. It brings together practical actions to take before and during a flood, helping reduce the damage flooding can cause.
Water, Weather and Waste
Transition Langport was formed in 2010 and has spear-headed the environment movement in Langport. The group fundraises and organises environmental projects.
Flora and Fauna
The area around Langport is rich in flora and fauna. The West Sedgemoor SSSI is located nearby and is part of England’s largest remaining wet meadow system. It is home to large populations of breeding waders in the summer and wildfowl in winter. The area is well known for the re-introduction of cranes.
Langport Town Council is working with neighbouring parishes and organisations to work towards becoming a zero carbon community. The forum convenes regular meetings to share initiatives like ‘parish online’, Langport Town Council’s Green Charter, sustainable housing.