UK & World News

  • 26 January 2014, 0:07

Somerset 'Near Breaking Point' Over Flooding

Somerset is getting towards breaking point after weeks of flooding with more heavy rain expected in the coming days, says the leader of the county council.

Residents in the village of Muchelney have been cut off for three weeks and have been reliant on volunteers in boats bringing in supplies.

Council chief John Osman told Sky News the water levels in the county are rising and they need more support from the Government.

He said: "It's been a difficult time. We've been under water for three weeks now.

"We've got the Environment Agency and Defra listening but not taking enough action.

"What I need is some money and some national support saying 'we're going to start dredging and start pumping'."

The Met Office has issued an amber warning of more heavy rain for the South West on Sunday.

Forecasters said up to 2cm was predicted and they highlighted the Somerset Levels, which they said should be prepared for further flooding.

This is a rural area running south from the Mendip Hills to the Blackdown Hills.

Mr Osman added: "There's no let up in the rain coming down. The water levels on the moorlands are rising. We are getting towards breaking point."

Somerset County Council is campaigning for the dredging of rivers on the Levels and has recently pledged a further 500,000 towards the cost - a move backed by Sedgemoor District Council.

Sedgemoor District Council has declared a "major incident" on the Levels, with most of the area remaining under water.

A vital boat service operated by Somerset County Council, which is ferrying people to work and school, as well as taking in supplies, is continuing as the access roads are still flooded.

The Environment Agency does not have any severe flood warnings - meaning a risk to life - in force in Somerset but there are several flood warnings in place.

An agency spokeswoman told Sky News: "We're doing everything we can to pump water off the Levels. We've got 62 pumps pumping 24/7 - our biggest pumping operation ever."

Kerry Rickards, chief executive of Sedgemoor District Council, said: "Several Sedgemoor communities have been severely affected by the floodwaters for some weeks now.

"With significant rainfall expected over the coming days we feel this situation needs to be escalated as a major incident.

"Sedgemoor District Council would like to extend its continued sympathy for the residents, business owners and farmers affected by flooding."

The council said it would continue to provide practical support to residents affected by flooding.

This includes supplying portable toilets where septic tanks are overwhelmed, sandbag collection points in villages and deliveries to the most vulnerable properties.

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