SEVERN Trent has this week started works to repair and strengthen a stretch of sewer near Ruscombe Brook to reduce the risk of sewage flooding into the watercourse. Over the years the sewer which runs near to the brook has become infested with tree roots - cracking the pipework and allowing sewage to escape from the system.

Fine roots seek out small cracks in the sewer and push their way into the network where they can grow into a major problem.

The most efficient and least intrusive way of resolving the problem is to remotely cut back the roots in the pipework then add a new lining in the sewer - sealing the cracks and preventing roots from pushing their way into the network.

The lining is specially strengthened to prevent further root intrusion for the next 100 years.

Work is expected to continue on site until mid October.

Mark Broomfield, programme engineer for Severn Trent, said: "We know that Ruscombe Brook and the wildlife that depends on it is important to the community. Our aim is to ensure water quality in the brook remains high, while causing minimum disruption to residents.

"Even though there will be no road closures and customers will be able to continue to use the system as normal while work is going on, residents will notice more vehicles in the area. "If anyone has questions or concerns about the work that needs to be done they can contact Severn Trent on 0800 783 4444."

Philip Booth, a spokesman for the Ruscombe Brook Action Group, that was formed over five years ago in response to incidents of sewage seeping into the brook, added: "We are delighted that sections of the sewer are at last being relined. We welcome these moves by Severn Trent and their willingness to find solutions to the problems faced here.

"We look forward to further work in the future to continue to improve the outdated sewage system and at present we are also working on ways to further improve the biodiversity of the brook."