SOMERSET residents who have been affected by recent flooding may be able to claim up to £5,000 in grants from central governments.

Several parts of Somerset suffered from severe localised flooding between May 2023 and January 2024, with more than 300 residential and commercial properties being affected.

Somerset Council has commissioned several official studies (known as Section 19) reports into the different incidents of flooding, which will make recommendations in the coming months and years for how similar calamities can be averted.

Now, Wells MP James Heappey has confirmed from Defra that grants will be made available through the property flood resilience repair grant scheme, making it easier for residents affected by flooding to future-proof their houses.

Mr Heappey’s constituency has seen significant flooding in recent times, with Storm Henk causing havoc in Croscombe and other villages around Shepton Mallet and Wells.

Staff at Inaura School stated in March that they may have to relocate their operations at Godney, near Glastonbury, because persistent flooding had made the classrooms inaccessible to staff and pupils.

Somerset County Gazette: James Heappey.James Heappey.

Mr Heappey – who has represented the constituency since 2015, and until recently served as armed forces minister – raised his concerns in a Westminster Hall debate on flooding held on April 17.

He said: “We are very used to water being on the fields and coming into our homes relatively frequently, but sometimes it happens more than is acceptable. When that happens, it is important that the government listens.

“Fields [in my constituency] have been underwater for months, which means they will not be as productive this summer as they would have been. They are not ready to be used, so farmers will need support.

“Some homes in villages in my constituency have been flooded four or more times in the past five or six months

“Is this the one-in-100-years winter about which all the worst-case scenarios are written? My suspicion is that it is not and that such events are increasingly common.”

Mr Heappey said there had been too little investment in infrastructure within the River Sheppey catchment to account for new development in Wells and Shepton Mallet – with a decision looming on a further 620 new homes in the latter settlement.

He said: “The capital improvements to watercourses downstream were never made, to allow for that increased speed of water as it comes off the greater amount of Tarmac upstream and into the valley beneath.

“The villages that are worst affected – Coxley, Croscombe, North Wootton and others – sit immediately beneath a number of new housing developments in Wells and Shepton Mallet.

“The Environment Agency’s operations team in my constituency tells me that it has about 60 per cent of what is needed as an operational budget for the Wessex area.

“The more we can invest capital in flood defences, pumping infrastructure, watercourse improvement, and thus ease the pressure on the EA’s revenue budget, the better.”

Defra minister Robbie Moore MP confirmed in the debate that Somerset residents and businesses could apply for grants of up to £5,000 for flood prevention measures, on account of more than 100 such premises in a given area being flooded in the same period of time.

He said: “I want to confirm to those constituents in the Somerset Council area that they are eligible to receive money through the property flood resilience repair grant scheme.

“The threshold has been met in the affected area and I really do want to reassure those in Somerset.”

Responding to this announcement, Mr Heappey added: “I am so pleased the minister and the department have opened these grants for affected constituents in Somerset.

“Somerset Council was unable to give financial reassurance to those affected and so I am pleased the government has been able to provide certainty.

“I am clear this is not going to be a one-off winter and prevention measures are crucial with dealing with flooding in this area.

“It was so important the government listened to the stories of not only individuals but farmers I have met whose livelihood has been affected by the volume of water we have experienced over the past 12 months or so.”

To apply for a grant to protect your home or business from flooding, visit