Farming couple say Somerset flooding has turned his home into 'ghost town'

Somerset County Gazette: James Hall and Becky Riley. James Hall and Becky Riley.

A FARMER said his home had been turned into a ‘ghost town’ after floods forced him to relocate more than 250 animals.

James Hall and his partner Becky Riley have lived at Northmoor Farm, close to Burrowbridge, for around a year but they say their 200 acres of fields have looked like a lake since the start of the year.

Amid rising water levels this week, the couple were forced to move their 123 cattle to a nearby farm on higher ground and other animals to safety way from the floods.

James said: “It has been devastating for everyone who has lost their home and their business because they are all pretty much destroyed.

“By the time the floods have finished there will be nothing left.”

The pair continue to live in their home with their chickens but they are concerned more heavy rain over the coming days will finally force them out.

They said: “We are digging in as long as we can.”

James said his parents Bob and Sue Hall, also in Fordgate, were not so lucky after their home and farm was completely submerged by floodwater.

He said: “There is three feet of water on the ground floor and there is anything and everything in the water from glass and light bulbs to waste from the septic tanks.

“It is not very nice ... there is a stench with the water.

“We just have to wait for the water to stop coming up now before we even plan for the future.

“When it goes down we will just have to see what is left.”

James and other members of the community are calling for Lord Smith, chairman of the Environment Agency, to resign.

He said: “We are signing a petition because we are disgusted that they say they had no money but were given £5million in 2000 – we want to know what has happened with that.

“We have had a lot of help coming from every direction recently and the community has really pulled together.”

James said he sympathised with fellow flood victims close to the River Thames but added: “We have had to scream for weeks to get the same help.”

Comments (3)

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8:22am Sun 16 Feb 14

ladybird14 says...

my heart goes out to you and all others like you but I agree with as soon as the flooding was getting nearer to London people started to jump, but what about the weeks of s*** you and all the others have had to deal with before . I hope once all the rain stops Camron starts to deal you all the money needed to get you all back on your feet again!! I now this could be another month but keep your chin up because he has said for all of us to hear money is no object .
my heart goes out to you and all others like you but I agree with as soon as the flooding was getting nearer to London people started to jump, but what about the weeks of s*** you and all the others have had to deal with before . I hope once all the rain stops Camron starts to deal you all the money needed to get you all back on your feet again!! I now this could be another month but keep your chin up because he has said for all of us to hear money is no object . ladybird14

3:32am Mon 17 Feb 14

Somerset;SocialistParty says...

Floods misery: Government cuts to blame

While thousands of homes and shops are waist deep in toxic water, and flooding hits new areas, government ministers indulge in a blame game.

Stand-in environment minister Eric Pickles blamed the Environment Agency for not dredging rivers, while the department's incapacitated minister Owen Paterson was reportedly raging to Prime Minister David Cameron over Pickles' attacks.

In reality, the entire government is to blame for a lack of preparation and its outrageously inadequate response.

After all, climate change scientists have been warning for years about the expected increased frequency of extreme weather events - including unprecedented rainfall - caused by human induced global warming.

Moreover, instead of investing in measures that have enormous potential to defend people, land and property against flooding, the government has pursued a vicious austerity agenda of public spending cuts.

These cuts have been borne heavily by the Environment Agency, including its budget for flood prevention.

Incredibly, on top of previous cuts, some 1,500 agency jobs (15% of the workforce), including 550 jobs in flood prevention, are due to be axed by October.

Yet the cost to people's homes and the country's ruined infrastructure will run into hundreds of millions of pounds.

The floods have exposed how this government puts the interests of a rich elite above those of a long-suffering public.

It's high time that these 'Eton millionaires' are booted out and an environmentally sustainable plan of flood defences and infrastructure is put in place.
"In July 2012 Guardian journalist Damian Carrington identified 294 shovel-ready flood defence schemes that had not proceeded because of cuts.

"Maintenance of existing defences was suffering too. The government was forced to throw another £130 million of emergency funding into the hole - yet that still left spending lower than in 2010.

Watching the interviews of the people affected by the floods, you can see and hear the mounting anger.

There has been a change in outlook among thousands of people with growing anger towards the Con-Dems over this issue.

We have private water companies raking it in, while running a Victorian plumbing system nationwide which causes enormous problems and clearly needs replacing.

The floods show how applying the Tory outlook of 'doing more with less' to the Environment Agency by cutting their finance has affected many thousands of people."
"The chain breaks at the weakest link. So it was in Dawlish, not two miles from my home town of Teignmouth, that a combination of high tides and winds broke the railway line that connects the south and west of Devon and Cornwall to the rest of the country.

Cutting off nearly a million people west of the river Exe, it has left Cornwall and major centres such as Plymouth and Torbay without rail connections.

The West has been battered by storms - the worst for many decades, with record levels of rainfall resulting in damage everywhere and the flooding of 60 square miles of the Somerset levels.

When this Coalition government was cobbled together in 2010, Cameron said he wanted it to be "the greenest government ever".

Since then they have done the reverse, seeking to undermine the science of climate change and cutting Environmental Agency funds by nearly 40%.

Like King Canute, the Con-Dems refuse to acknowledge that to turn the tide against global warming, there must be planning on a regional, national and international level - an impossible scenario given the 'values' that sustain their capitalist system."

For more information, or to join the Socialist Party, visit: www.socialistparty.o
rg.uk
Floods misery: Government cuts to blame While thousands of homes and shops are waist deep in toxic water, and flooding hits new areas, government ministers indulge in a blame game. Stand-in environment minister Eric Pickles blamed the Environment Agency for not dredging rivers, while the department's incapacitated minister Owen Paterson was reportedly raging to Prime Minister David Cameron over Pickles' attacks. In reality, the entire government is to blame for a lack of preparation and its outrageously inadequate response. After all, climate change scientists have been warning for years about the expected increased frequency of extreme weather events - including unprecedented rainfall - caused by human induced global warming. Moreover, instead of investing in measures that have enormous potential to defend people, land and property against flooding, the government has pursued a vicious austerity agenda of public spending cuts. These cuts have been borne heavily by the Environment Agency, including its budget for flood prevention. Incredibly, on top of previous cuts, some 1,500 agency jobs (15% of the workforce), including 550 jobs in flood prevention, are due to be axed by October. Yet the cost to people's homes and the country's ruined infrastructure will run into hundreds of millions of pounds. The floods have exposed how this government puts the interests of a rich elite above those of a long-suffering public. It's high time that these 'Eton millionaires' are booted out and an environmentally sustainable plan of flood defences and infrastructure is put in place. "In July 2012 Guardian journalist Damian Carrington identified 294 shovel-ready flood defence schemes that had not proceeded because of cuts. "Maintenance of existing defences was suffering too. The government was forced to throw another £130 million of emergency funding into the hole - yet that still left spending lower than in 2010. Watching the interviews of the people affected by the floods, you can see and hear the mounting anger. There has been a change in outlook among thousands of people with growing anger towards the Con-Dems over this issue. We have private water companies raking it in, while running a Victorian plumbing system nationwide which causes enormous problems and clearly needs replacing. The floods show how applying the Tory outlook of 'doing more with less' to the Environment Agency by cutting their finance has affected many thousands of people." "The chain breaks at the weakest link. So it was in Dawlish, not two miles from my home town of Teignmouth, that a combination of high tides and winds broke the railway line that connects the south and west of Devon and Cornwall to the rest of the country. Cutting off nearly a million people west of the river Exe, it has left Cornwall and major centres such as Plymouth and Torbay without rail connections. The West has been battered by storms - the worst for many decades, with record levels of rainfall resulting in damage everywhere and the flooding of 60 square miles of the Somerset levels. When this Coalition government was cobbled together in 2010, Cameron said he wanted it to be "the greenest government ever". Since then they have done the reverse, seeking to undermine the science of climate change and cutting Environmental Agency funds by nearly 40%. Like King Canute, the Con-Dems refuse to acknowledge that to turn the tide against global warming, there must be planning on a regional, national and international level - an impossible scenario given the 'values' that sustain their capitalist system." For more information, or to join the Socialist Party, visit: www.socialistparty.o rg.uk Somerset;SocialistParty

11:47am Tue 25 Feb 14

Mi_Coc says...

Of course the socialist have a magic wand that protects all from 1 in 200 years rainfall and so 36k homes in taunton and bridgewater are saved and we dont have to sacrifice 600 on the levels to achieve this.
Of course the socialist have a magic wand that protects all from 1 in 200 years rainfall and so 36k homes in taunton and bridgewater are saved and we dont have to sacrifice 600 on the levels to achieve this. Mi_Coc

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