EMERGENCY services have been praised for their “fantastic” efforts in cleaning up flooding across Somerset over the weekend.

Taunton and west Somerset have experienced significant flooding in the last 48 hours, with the coastal town of Minehead being especially affected.

With more rain forecast until Thursday (September 21), on top of the heavy rain at the weekend, Butlins has announced a four-day closure of its Warren Road holiday camp.

Somerset Council has been working with Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service and the other emergency services in the clean-up operation, with residents and businesses being encouraged to reach out for support.

Work is being undertaken by the Environment Agency (EA) to protect part of the Minehead coastline from further flooding – and further such measures could be explored in the future as part of a long-term strategy currently being finalised.

Councillor Mandy Chilcott, one of the two Minehead division members, took to social media on Sunday (September 17) to praise the work of the emergency services.

She said: “The fire brigade has done a fantastic job. A huge thank-you to the team for their efficiency, speed of response and their pumping equipment which has really done its job.

“There are still many that are clearing up homes and premise,  but it was great to see everyone helping each other.”

Staff at the Beach Hotel on The Avenue (which is run by the YMCA Dulverton Group) posted on the hotel’s official Facebook page that it had escaped largely unscathed from the flooding.

The post stated: “A major flood at the Beach Hotel turned from a crisis into a triumph.

“The apprentices and staff worked miracles overnight in torrential rain. They saved the gym floor then deep cleaned, did the same with the cellar, and a major flood was averted in the kitchens and restaurants by the construction of an ingenious blue paper coffer dam wall.”

Somerset Council said it had been “working closely” with the emergency services, and urged people affected by property flooding to report it, either by calling 0300 123 2224 or emailing flooding@somerset.gov.uk.

A spokesman said: “We do not investigate all instances of flooding – for example, gardens, land or ancillary buildings.

“Where we have decided to investigate a significant flooding issue – usually internal flooding to five or more properties – we will review the relevant correspondence and make this information available to the officer leading the Section 19 flood investigation.

“We work with colleagues and other authorities wherever possible to provide communities with regular joint updates about any ongoing investigations.”

Section 19 reports were commissioned after the flooding which beset Chard and Ilminster in mid- and late-2021, with the final reports analysing the causes of the flooding and making recommendations to prevent any repeat of these incidents.

The Somerset Rivers Authority (SRA), which was set up after the disastrous floods of 2013/14, has been working on a 25-year action plan for Minehead and its catchment area.

The SRA indicated in its annual report that the plan – which has been put together in conjunction with the council and Wessex Water – would be published before the end of the year.

A spokesman said: “The 25-year action plan deals with serious flood risks from all sources across the whole catchment in and around Minehead.

“Our consultants WSP have finished building an integrated catchment model, to get a much better understanding of the combined impacts of river, surface water and drainage flood risks. Sensitivity runs were also conducted to assess the impact of the tide on local infrastructure.

“After the model’s outputs were reviewed and validated, the project team identified potential flood alleviation measures across the catchments that flow into Minehead.

“The final report will particularly take into account the effects of new developments around Minehead and climate change.”

The Environment Agency (EA) is currently carrying out work on two sections of the coast near Minehead and West Somerset Golf Club, stabilising 360 metres of “a vulnerable shingle ridge” in a bid to protect businesses and properties from future flooding.

These stretches of the beach will be reinforced with granite rock armour, from the same Scottish quarry which has supplied stone for the Blue Anchor coastal protection scheme further up the west Somerset coast.

The work began on September 11 and is expected to be completed before the end of the year, depending on weather and coastal conditions.

A spokesman said: “Emergency service access to the slipway will not be compromised during the work.

“Access to the beach to the east of the Slipway will remain open, but there will be banks-men supervising the movement of machinery and material who will advise on safe routes around the working site.

“We encourage residents’ co-operation and to work with them to take steps to avoid harm.”