SOMERSET FLOODS: Prime Minister David Cameron pledges money to support victims during visit to Taunton (From Somerset County Gazette)
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SOMERSET FLOODS: Prime Minister David Cameron pledges money to support victims during visit to Taunton
This live event has finished
- PM speaks to police and military in Taunton
- Two severe flood warnings remain in place for Somerset
- Environment Agency chairman admits "We've made mistakes"
- Forecast remains grim for the rest of the week
RT @MrsAitchBee: Just can’t believe this pic! We travel passed this whicker basket place so often! Look at the height of the water! http://…— @HattyBoots 11 February 2014
Latest information & advice for residents in flooded areas of Somerset http://t.co/z3x0hfh9ED #SomersetFloods— @ASPolice 11 February 2014
AS he said earlier during his visit to Taunton, Cameron tells reporters we are a "wealthy country."
This is what one reader thinks of it:
3:01pm Tue 11 Feb 14
So we are a wealthy country now!!! Money is not a problem?? Since when? Our country has been on the breadline for years now. Unemployment isn't falling it's just that we are all made to work part time. There is no money for caring for the young or the elderly, libraries, health, education etc etc but suddenly the government says we have plenty of money. Is it because the floods are starting to get closer to London? If finance isn't a problem why have we all been left to suffer for the past few years? It's time the councillors tell us where they are hiding all this money
SCC welcomes David Cameron saying Levels "will take time to clear" + "farmers will get support"+"money no object to relief" #somersetfloods— @SomersetCouncil 11 February 2014
DAVID Cameron is currently holding a Downing Street press conference on floods where he thanks emergency services and volunteers.
He adds: "Money is no object in this relief effort. We will take all steps that are necessary."
David Cameron meets members of Silver Command with Taunton Deane MP Jeremy Browne, right.
COMMUNITIES on the Somerset Levels are being warned to expect more flooding with heavy rain expected tomorrow (Wednesday).
Environment Agency teams continue to be out in force across England - day and night - to minimise the impact of flooding.
About 100 properties remain flooded on the Somerset Levels, where extra pumps are being brought in from Holland to help reduce levels on the River Parrett and Tone.
Further periods of heavy rain are expected mainly to affect the south of England tomorrow and Friday. This is likely to cause more disruption from river and groundwater flooding.
Two severe flood warnings remain in force at Saltmoor and Northmoor, including Moorland, and for the A361, East Lyng to Burrowbridge, as flooding continues on the Somerset Levels.
Since the beginning of December, flood schemes have defended more than 1.3m homes and businesses and protected nearly 2,500 square kilometres of farmland across England. In the same period, 5,800 properties have flooded as a result of the extraordinary series of weather storms.
England has faced the wettest January since 1766. Over the past week more than 180,000 properties have been protected from flooding and more than 138,000 properties have been sent a free flood warning. Since January 29 more than 1,000 properties have flooded.
Paul Leinster, Chief Executive of Environment Agency, said: “Our hearts and sincere sympathy go out to those who have already experienced flooding.
"Our teams will continue to work around the clock to protect lives, homes, businesses, communities and farmland over the coming days.
"We are also supporting multi-agency command centres, normally led by the police, across the country as part of our work with a wide range of partners including the military, local authorities and the emergency services.
“Stormy weather will continue to threaten communities this week, with further flooding expected along the Thames in Berkshire and Surrey.
"River levels are high across south-west, central and southern England and further rain has the potential to cause significant flooding.
“I urge the public to sign up to our receive free flood warnings, check their flood risk, and keep up to date with the latest situation on the Environment Agency website and on social media using #floodaware.”
SEDGEMOOR District Council has extended the opening hours of its contact centre for this weekend.
Sedgemoor Direct will be open between 10am and 5pm on February 15 and 16.
These additional opening hours are to help residents effected by flooding.
The customer contact centre can be contacted via: 0845 408 2540 or local rate 01278-435435.
It is open Monday to Friday, as standard, 8am to 6pm. Outside of these hours the emergency contact service is available 24/7 via 0800 917 6520.
COSTS incurred by Somerset County Council, along with Taunton Deane, Sedgemoor and South Somerset District Councils will be reimbursed through the Government's Bellwin Scheme.
The Bellwin Scheme allows councils to apply for financial help in emergency situations.
Mr Cameron said: "We plan to look at all sorts of funding. This is a national emergency so we will find the money and where it needs to be spent, it will be spent.
"We will reimburse 100% of the costs incurred – money is not the problem.
"They [councils] should be marking down everything they are spending and that should be covered by the Bellwin scheme.
"Councils need to work out what they can apply for."
THE Prime Minister attended a meeting with Gold Command, a committee of people from the fire, police, Envrionment Agency, county and district councils and the military.
He also saw some of the work done by the Silver Command, who are described as the 'thinkers' as opposed to the Gold Command who are the 'planners'.
Bronze Command are the people on the ground working with communities hands-on.
Mr Cameron said: "I think people would be impressed with the level of support there in one room all working together.
"Everything that needs to be done is being done.
"It was important to get the army involved and you can see they are doing a great job."
Mr Cameron did admit that a lack of dredging in previous years was a mistake.
He said: "Some dredging was done last year but we can look back to the late 1990s and see that the pendulum swung to far away from dredging.
"More dredging will be done as soon as it is safe to do because dredging should have been done."
WHEN asked if the Government would dip into the European Union £440million Disaster Fund or divert some of their £11billion foreign aid budget towards helping flood victims in Somerset, the Prime Minister said it would not be needed.
He added: "We will make sure whatever it takes money is there.
"We are a wealthy country and if money is needed for the cleanup or for households it will be available.
"What we need at home we will spend at home I guarantee that.
"There are financial constraints but we are a wealthy country with a growing economy and even in this emergency for our country we will spend the money where the money is needed.
"We are looking what can be done to help people and businesses get back on their feet and get back to normal life."
DAVID Cameron told the County Gazette's Daniel Milligan earlier today that "as much funding as is needed" will be made available to Somerset.
He also stressed that despite the ongoing work with flood victims close to the River Thames, Somerset would not be forgotten.
He added: "This is a very difficult situation and the worst weather for 250 years so this will take time.
"The current pumping will help to drain the Levels but it will take time.
"People should not be in any doubt that we so have difficult financial decisions but we will make sure that where the money is needed it will be made available."
Tonight's game AWAY to Cinderford FC is off due to a waterlogged pitch.— @OfficialBTFC84 11 February 2014
Public meeting tomorrow at 6pm re flood-response at Canalside centre, Huntworth, Bridgwater. 2nd meeting Thursday at 2pm #somersetfloods— @SedgemoorDC 11 February 2014
PM @David_Cameron guaranteed to me earlier that enough funding would be made available to cope with Somerset Levels flooding.— @GazetteDMilli 11 February 2014
THE PM is pictured speaking to the military at Taunton police station.
PRIME Minister David Cameron, left centre, met with Chief Supt Caroline Peters, right centre, the Gold Command team and Environment Agency representatives at Taunton police station this morning.
SCC reports 15000 sandbags now in place at Huntworth area over past couple of days. Thanks to all agencies who helped.#somersetfloods— @SomersetCouncil 11 February 2014
THE following roads are currently affected by flooding:
- Road closure at M5 J24 - Huntworth Lane is closed at the junction towards Moorland.
- Lane closure, A38 dual carriageway at Dunball, until 10pm Wednesday 12 February – Environment Agency installing additional pumps.
- A361 Burrowbridge to East Lyng – still closed due to flooding.
- Roads in and around Moorland, nr North Petherton – Flooding to roads and properties remains. Main road to Moorland now closed but is passable with care. Access is being managed by the Police. Evacuation of properties currently underway.
- Marsh Lane, Huntworth – flooded and impassable
- Ward Lane, Chedzoy between Chedzoy and Stawell – closed due to flooding.
- Bullhorn Drove, Westonzoyland – closed due to flooding.
- Ruggs Drove (Fowlers Plot), Chedzoy – closed due to flooding
- A372 Langport Road (Seven Bends) from Othery to Aller – Road closed due to flooding and EA works. Additional advanced signs have been put out. Large pump brought in by EA is at work.
- Tuxwell Lane, Spaxton – road passable with care.
- Banklands, North Newton – surface water present but passable with care
- Fordgate, Moorland – one access route closed due to flooding. The other access route has surface water but passable with care.
- A372 Pibsury, closed since 23 December and remains closed
- All roads to Muchelney, Thorney closed since 24 December and remain closed
- Oath, closed since the week of 6 January and remains closed
- Long Load Bridge, B3165 closed since 24 December and remains closed
- A372 Othery to Aller – closed. Full closure constructed at seven bends (South Somerset side). Additional signing provided at Langport, junction of A372/A378 Shires Garage, to advise motorists of the full closure at seven bends.
- Chinnock Hollow, off the A30, East Coker, closed, team on site to clear landslip, expected to be open by 1pm.
- Godney Road, Godney – closed
- Long Drove – flooding but passable with care
- Back River Drove – Overtopping but passable with care
- Netherclay – closed
- Comeytrowe Lane – passable with care
- Comeytrowe Road – passable with care
- Ruishton Village has been flooded since early Wednesday (5 February) morning.
- Cheats Road, Ruishton to Creech St Michael and Ham – passable with care
- Bradford-on-Tone to Oake – only passable one way
- Bradford-on-Tone, Tone Green – passable with care
- Nynehead, road towards Nynehead weir is clear, but road to Langford Budville is reported as being difficult to pass with small vehicles
- Norton Fitzwarren – Clear, but some ponding water
- West Sedgemoor Road, near Hellands Mead, North Curry, flooded by rising water across the West Sedge Moor
- Tarr Road, Lydeard St Lawrence – road closed after fallen trees have taken a large section of carriageway with it.
- New Road/Moor Lane, North Curry – closed
- Cutts Road, East Lyng (to Athelney) – closed
- Burrowbridge to Huntworth – flooding – closed
- A361 East Lyng to Burrowbridge – closed
- Burrowbridge to Stathe – flooded but passable with care
- Stathe to Oath – flooded – 4×4 only
- Oare Post to Oare (Doone Valley) – repairs now completed and road re-opened.
- Sampford Rocks, Sampford Brett – landslip – road closed.
- Dyche Road, Holford – flooding – road closed.
Information from Somerset County Council
Customers unable to travel due to flooding are due full refunds on daily tickets. Please see http://t.co/2pEG5ecnvd for information.— @FGW 11 February 2014
AVON and Somerset Police has introduced a 'Unimog' vehicle to serve the marooned community of Muchelney.
A statement read: "People wishing to travel to Thorney had raised concerns about waves being created by the amphibious vehicle (BV).
"The decision was taken to withdraw the BV and the Unimog will operate instead.
"Support from Wessex 4x4 continues as we continue to work with the local residents to meet their requirements.
"The west route, which serves those living in the Drayton area – and beyond – continues to be supported by a BV and the Wessex 4x4 team.
"The route north of the area to Langport, continues to be supported by the boat service, which is being provided by Somerset County Council."
After a day visiting flood-hit areas, I'll update the country on the latest plan of action with a press conference at No10 at 4:45pm.— @David_Cameron 11 February 2014
PRIME Minister David Cameron, who has been visiting flood-hit areas of Devon this morning, is due to visit Taunton today.
ASDA said: "Asda stores around the country have been inundated with requests from customers, colleagues and suppliers who want to offer their support to neighbouring communities.
"Stores and depots across the chain will be holding in-store collections so people across the UK can make personal contributions to support relief efforts.
"The Asda Foundation has committed to making top up donations to the funds raised locally."
SUPERMARKET chain Asda has just announced it will donate £400,000 to help communities affected by flooding.
SOMERSET County Council say there are no schools closed due to the flooding today.
IN Norton Fitzwarren, motorists are reporting 'insane traffic jams' through the village and up to Rectory Road, Blackdown View and Hilly Park.
TRAFFIC heading into Taunton around Henlade and the park and ride service is extremely busy.
Long queues can be expected.
THE weather continues to have a major effect on transport.
The A361 remains closed at Burrowbridge, and the A372 is shut at Othery and Huish Episcopi.
On the trains, First Great Western services are suspended between Taunton and Bridgwater due to flodoing, with replacement bus services in place.
THE Environment Agency chairman, Lord Smith, speaking on last night's Newsnight programme on BBC Two, said things could have been done differently, but he resisted calls to resign.
He said: "We've all made mistakes, everyone has made mistakes".
THE Environment Agency says two severe flood warnings remain in place for Somerset - at Salt Moor and North Moor, and between East Lyng and Burrowbridge.
AFTER a relatively mild day yesterday, the rain has returned with a vengeance this morning, and the forecast is for more showers later.