LiveSOMERSET FLOODS: Military support called in, police confirm (Thu, Feb 6)

First published in News
Last updated

This live event has finished

Summary

  • Stoke St Gregory and North Curry schools closed today.
  • No trains running between Taunton and Penzance.
  • Severe flood warnings still in place.
  • More rain forecast for the weekend.
  • Eric Pickles MP announces £130m for emergency repairs.
  • Lord Smith expected to visit Somerset Levels on Friday.
  • Royal Marines called in

9:32pm

7:04pm

6:39pm

Royal Marines have been deployed to help reinforce flood defences.

18 Marines from 40 Commando, near Taunton, are helping with a major sandbagging operation at Stanmoor Bank near Burrowbridge.

They expect to be putting out nearly 1,000 sandbags along a 1-2km stretch of the retaining wall which is being reinforced to prevent overtopping by flood waters. 

Chief Superintendent Caroline Peters, Gold Commander, said: "We’ve had the support of the military on standby throughout this major incident.

“Staff from many different agencies have been working tirelessly to fill and put out sandbags. They have been working flat out and Royal Marines manpower has been deployed this evening to bring fresh energy and extra support which is very much appreciated.”

6:35pm

6:33pm

5:14pm

4:57pm

4:49pm

Lord Smith, chairman of the Environment Agency, is expected to visit the Somerset Levels tomorrow (Friday).

4:14pm

Samantha Browning sent in this photo of a flooded road in the Isle Abbotts/Fivehead area.

Burnham and Highbridge Weekly News:

4:06pm

The A30 Crewkerne Road is closed both ways due to fallen tree between Oaklands Avenue and B3167.

Access to Chard Hospital is unaffected following a large fallen tree from yesterday evening. Council crews are currently on site to remove the tree.

3:56pm

Some 42 new flood schemes have been given the green light by Floods Minister Dan Rogerson today.

A further 13 schemes previously given funding will also begin construction this, bringing the total number of schemes starting work to 55 for this year.

In all the new schemes starting construction this year will provide protection to over 42,000 households across the country.

An additional £130 million will also help to secure and maintain critical flood defences before next winter hits.

Mr Rogerson said: “After the wettest January for over 200 years, Britain has been battered by some exceptional weather and communities have been devastated by the impact of flooding.

“Our flood defences have been seriously tested over the past two months which is why we are investing in repairs to ensure these crucial defences can withstand future storms.

“More money than ever before is being invested in flood defences and the new schemes will give greater security to thousands of homes and businesses that have previously feared flooding.”

3:50pm

3:47pm

A total of £344million will be spent by the Government on flood defences this year. For a breakdown, click here.

3:45pm

Somerset Savings and Loans has teamed up with the Langport and Levels Area Savings and Thrift group to set up a £10,000 emergency loan fund to help people affected by this winter’s flooding to rebuild their home lives.

The credit union has set up a hotline at its Portishead HQ to cope with demand from people needing instant decisions on items such as white goods, TVs and other household essentials.

General manager Jackie Simpson said people needing this help will fast tracked for loan decisions.

She said: “We will make all decisions quickly with the objective of getting money to people affected by the floods for essential household items which might have been written off or damaged by the floodwater.

“It’s important that we get money out into the community to help make life a little bit easier for people trying to put their lives back together after these awful floods.”

People affected by the floods can ring the hotline on 01275-390649.

3:21pm

Ahead of Saturday's Sky Bet Championship football match between Yeovil Town and Leeds United, the Glovers have released the following statement:

"With Saturday's Sky televised match against Leeds United fast approaching the club would like to reassure supporters of both clubs that every effort is being made to ensure the game takes place.

The pitch has been covered since late on Monday and is reasonably dry under the covers.

Improvements to the dug out area have been carried out since the postponement of the Watford match which should solve the problems of water not draining away from that area.

The ground staff are regularly monitoring the weather and despite the forecast all remain hopeful the match will be played.

We will carry regular updates on the club's official web site and also on our Twitter feed.

We are living through truly extreme weather conditions which do make like difficult for both the club and travelling supporters, but rest assured EVERYTHING that can be done to ensure the game is played is being done."

3:18pm

3:05pm

2:59pm

1:03pm

1:02pm

High tide at Watchet (Photo: Hazel Bainbridge)

Burnham and Highbridge Weekly News:

12:58pm

South Western Ambulance Service has given an update on how its Hazardous Area Response Team (HART) has been deadling with calls across the Somerset Levels.

On Wednesday, the HART team:

  • Carried out welfare checks on residents at a property in Burrowbridge and evacuated one patient to safety
  • Conveyed a patient from Ruishton to Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton for treatment
  • Responded with Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service to a van stuck in flood water – one patient was discharged at the scene
  • Responded to reports of two people trapped in a car in flood water. Both patients were taken to safety.

Derek McCullough, East Somerset operational locality manager for SWASFT, said: “I would urge residents across the Levels who have been affected by the flooding to keep an eye on the weather forecast over the coming days.

“Our main aim is making sure those who are affected have all their medical provisions and the HART will be on hand to offer medical advice and treatment if needed.

“More heavy rain is predicted for the area so it is essential that people only dial 999 in an emergency.

"If you require medical assistance but it is not an emergency please call 111.”

12:48pm

12:47pm

Burnham and Highbridge Weekly News: BECKY Lockyer, Yasmin Turner, Mia Borthwick, Coral Kendall, Andrew Worth, Mark Elford, Dan Boulton, Hannah Thompson, Rory Capel, Jamie Savage. PHOTO: Steve Guscott.

West Somerset College has had to postpone it's musical production this week due to the bad weather.

For new arrangements and to read the full story, click here.

12:23pm

PEOPLE are being told to prepare for more flooding at the end of this week.

Severe flood warnings are in place today for parts of the South-West coast where high sea levels have combined with strong winds and large waves.

The region is at risk of flooding for the remainder of the week and into the weekend as widespread bands of rain are forecast, the Environment Agency said.

John Curtin, head of incident management at the Environment Agency, said: “We’re preparing for successive bands of heavy rain forecast into the weekend, groundwater and river levels are already high following the wettest January on record for England.

“With further river and coastal flooding expected this week we continue to have teams working around the clock to protect homes and communities and we are mobilising staff from across the Environment Agency to provide support in affected areas.

"Over 122,600 properties have been protected over the past few days.

“We urge people to stay safe and not to walk or drive through flood water which can be dangerous and to take care near coastal paths and promenades for fear of being swept away."

12:18pm

12:16pm

12:12pm

First Great Western has just released the following information: 

  • Trains will run from Penzance to Plymouth with the exception of the 0543 train from Plymouth to Penzance and the 0741 train from Penzance to Plymouth
  • All Cornish branch lines will run as normal
  • Trains from London Paddington to Exeter will run as per the amended timetable in place due to the Whiteball Tunnel works, with the exception of the 0620 train from Exeter to London and the 1903 train from London to Exeter.
  • Trains from Bristol, the West Midlands and the north will continue to terminate at Taunton, as per the amended timetable in place due to the Whiteball Tunnel works
  • All Devon branch lines will run as normal except the Newton Abbot to Paignton line.
  • Coaches will provide services between Newton Abbot and Exeter and the non-stop service between Plymouth and Taunton will continue, along with additional fast coaches between Exeter at Plymouth. These depart Exeter at xx.15 and depart Plymouth at xx.45. The journey time on these fast coaches will be around 80 minutes.
  • Sleeper services are suspended.
  • Customers who do not travel will receive a full refund.
  • All ticket restrictions are lifted for journeys starting or finishing at any station west of Exeter.

11:54am

Burnham and Highbridge Weekly News: Cabinet Minister Eric Pickles

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles MP has given his statement to the House of Commons, saying "as the dark skies clear there will be lessons to be learned." 

Mr Pickles announced the Government would be providing an additional £130million to help with repairs as a result of flooding.

He said: "We will work to defend both town and country. I do not agree with Lord Smith's [chairman of the Environment Agency] comments which implied there was a choice between town and country."

Mr Pickles said by the end of autumn, a six-year plan to prevent future flooding will have been published.

He added: "We cannot control the weather but we will provide the security that hard working families deserve."

11:46am

11:32am

11:31am

Speaking at the Business in the Community summit, Prince Charles is reporting back from his visit to the flooding in Somerset.

He said the Somerset Levels is "a classic example of what happens if you pay little attention to the accumulating impact of climate change."

11:19am

11:18am

11:17am

11:17am

11:17am

11:11am

James Winslade, who farms at Moorland, has made a desperate appeal for forage to feed his 500 cattle.

In a dramatic series of tweets, he described the drama as his bungalow flooded and his cattle's food was swamped.

 

10:52am

VIDEO: Paul Silvers

10:47am

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles is due to give an announcement on the winter floods in the House of Commons at 11.15am this morning.

10:10am

9:53am

People in Fordgate, North Moor and Moorland were last night being advised to evacuate, with the council estimating up to 150 properties could be affected.

They were told to evacuate to North Petherton Bowling Club with water levels expected to rise.

Some of the villagers were already cut off so the only way police could inform them of the evacuation plans was by helicopter.

Burnham and Highbridge Weekly News:

(RVS ladies Verity Trevor-Morgan and Marsha Casely)

Burnham and Highbridge Weekly News:

(Burrowbridge resident Anthony Rippon, who was evacuated from his home)

Burnham and Highbridge Weekly News:

(Sedgemoor District Council housing advisors Kirsty Michaels and Karen Rainey, who were signing people into the centre)

9:24am

9:23am

Severe flood warnings are still in place at Salt Moor and North Moor, as well as the A361 East Lyng to Burrowbridge.

For Environment Agency advice, click here. 

9:18am

More photos taken yesterday by Doug Lowe from Junction 25 of the M5 on the edge of Taunton.

The views are looking across the chicken farm by Maiden Brook next to B&Q by the River Tone and from Salisbury Church Lane looking back across to the M5.

Burnham and Highbridge Weekly News: Burnham and Highbridge Weekly News: Burnham and Highbridge Weekly News: Burnham and Highbridge Weekly News: Burnham and Highbridge Weekly News:

9:10am

Doug Lowe took these photos of flooding causing chaos on the A358 yesterday (Wednesday).

Burnham and Highbridge Weekly News: Burnham and Highbridge Weekly News: Burnham and Highbridge Weekly News:

8:18am

The Met Office has issued a warning for further heavy and persistent rain across the South West including Somerset.

The rain will continue from Thursday afternoon until Friday morning, and again from late Friday evening until early Saturday followed by frequent heavy showers.

Between 20-40 mm of rain will fall each day between Thursday to Saturday.

8:15am

Our travel feed info as of 8.07amBurnham and Highbridge Weekly News:

Burnham and Highbridge Weekly News:

8:09am

The Environment Agency has a severe flood warning in place for people in Moorland, North Moor, Salt Moor and Burrowbridge.

8:01am

Trains between Taunton and Penzance are not running due to the wall collapse at Dawlish. 

An hourly direct bus service will run between Taunton and Plymouth.

All trains running between Taunton and Castle Cary are closed due to flooding on the tracks.

7:49am

The A378 between Taunton and Langport is passable with care this morning.

7:48am

Thurlbear School, Stoke St Gregory and North Curry schools have all announced that they will not be open today, Thursday February 26.

In an statement on the school's website, Barbara Berks, head teacher at Stoke St Gregory, said: "We have reached this decision after consultation with Somerset County Council and looking at the weather forecast.

"It is not a decision that has been taken lightly and most importantly we have considered the health and safety of the children, staff and parents."

Comments (3)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

11:43am Thu 6 Feb 14

InsiderintheEA says...

Inside the Environment Agency have been exposing the failings of the Environment Agency for going on a year now: http://www.insidethe
environmentagency.co
.uk - others have been exposing the failings for much longer.
Inside the Environment Agency have been exposing the failings of the Environment Agency for going on a year now: http://www.insidethe environmentagency.co .uk - others have been exposing the failings for much longer. InsiderintheEA
  • Score: 2

12:47pm Thu 6 Feb 14

wivey says...

InsiderintheEA wrote:
Inside the Environment Agency have been exposing the failings of the Environment Agency for going on a year now: http://www.insidethe

environmentagency.co

.uk - others have been exposing the failings for much longer.
Inside DEFRA would be more useful - they're the ones who make decisions, the EA just carries out the orders. The way that Pickles earlier today side-stepped all questions about why the Government had stopped implementing the recommendations in the Pitt review (made after the 2007 floods) suggests that it is DEFRA that is to blame for inaction, not the EA.
[quote][p][bold]InsiderintheEA[/bold] wrote: Inside the Environment Agency have been exposing the failings of the Environment Agency for going on a year now: http://www.insidethe environmentagency.co .uk - others have been exposing the failings for much longer.[/p][/quote]Inside DEFRA would be more useful - they're the ones who make decisions, the EA just carries out the orders. The way that Pickles earlier today side-stepped all questions about why the Government had stopped implementing the recommendations in the Pitt review (made after the 2007 floods) suggests that it is DEFRA that is to blame for inaction, not the EA. wivey
  • Score: 0

9:24pm Mon 10 Feb 14

the voice of common sense says...

A total of £344million will be spent by the Government on flood defences this year. For a breakdown, click here.

And not a penny of it is destined for the somerset levels.

The E.A. are taking the proverbial
A total of £344million will be spent by the Government on flood defences this year. For a breakdown, click here. And not a penny of it is destined for the somerset levels. The E.A. are taking the proverbial the voice of common sense
  • Score: 0

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