Polypipe, the UK’s leading manufacturer of engineered sustainable drainage solutions, has helped a flood-stricken Somerset village manage its highway drainage effectively.

Muchelney, on the Somerset Levels, experienced its worst flood in 90 years during the storms of early 2014 and was subsequently cut off from surrounding villages for two months, to such an extent that it was only accessible by boat.

In the aftermath of the storm, main contractor Skanska developed a raised access road for Somerset County Council, to assist access to the village during future flood events. This work carried out under the multi-agency Flood Action Plan which aims to reduce the chance and impact of flooding in the area.

As part of the road’s design, Skanska and their consultant engineer Atkins approached Polypipe to provide more than 500m of its 900mm Ridgistorm-XL large diameter pipe system to form a stormwater management solution. The system was engineered to a stiffness class of SN4 in order to meet local ground conditions.

Designed to run perpendicular to the newly raised access road, the Ridgistorm-XL system is buried underneath the road at intervals to convey floodwater from one side of the road to the other. This will stop the road, which was raised by 1.2m, acting as a dam and prevent the road from flooding – enabling the road to be used during and after a flooding event similar to those of 2014 to provide access to Muchelney.

The popular Ridgistorm-XL system is up to 94% lighter in weight than products made from traditional materials, making it easier to handle and reducing the need for heavy plant machinery, greatly minimising time and installation cost.


Roger Ingram, Project Manager at Skanska, said:

Having worked closely with Somerset County Council, we know how big an impact last year’s floods had on the area. We’re pleased to have been able to install a solution that will provide vital access to Muchelney in years to come thanks to the expertise of key manufacturers in the project, such as Polypipe.

Emma Nicholls, Marketing Manager at Polypipe Civils, said:

Having seen the devastation caused during last year’s floods in the south west we’re pleased to be able to play a small part in improving the area’s future flood defences.

“With increased rainfall predicted due to global warming we may see more instances of extreme rainfall, and therefore schemes like this become more prevalent in the UK. We hope that our expertise and products can go some way towards lessening the impact of future flood events.

Date: 14 July 2015