UK & World News
Weather: New Year Flood Warning For Councils
Prime Minister David Cameron is calling on councils to have plans in place for New Year flooding as forecasters warn of more storms in the days ahead.
Mr Cameron led a Government push for action as thousands of homes were still without power following Christmas storms that swept across Britain and Ireland.
The PM, who was confronted by an angry flood victim in Yalding, Kent, on Friday, wrote on Twitter: "I've asked the Dept for Communities & Local Govt to ensure councils have robust plans in case of bad weather and flooding over New Year."
A Downing Street spokesman outlined action to be taken after ministers held a Cabinet Office Briefing (COBR) via conference call on Saturday.
The COBR meeting was chaired by Defra minister George Eustice, with housing minister Kris Hopkins, energy minister Baroness Verma, trade minister Lord Livingston and officials from the Environment Agency taking part.
Energy Minister Ed Davey is pushing UK Power Networks - which owns electricity lines in London and the South East - for a clear, public timeline for work to get the power back on, the spokesman said.
The Government has also made emergency funding available to councils affected by severe weather and flooding and is urging them to have a clear plan in place if they could face flooding over the New Year.
Around 1,500 homes are still without power, according to The Energy Networks Association (ENA), as one of the UK's biggest power distributors promised to almost triple compensation for customers affected.
UK Power Networks said it will increase payments for 48 to 60-hour outages from £27 to £75 for those affected on Christmas Day as "a gesture of goodwill".
Additional payments will be made to customers who have been without electricity for longer than that time - up to a maximum of £432.
Despite forecasters predicting a weekend of more settled weather, the Met Office has issued a yellow warning - meaning be aware - for the early hours of Monday morning.
Heavy rain is expected to spread across the southwest of England and south Wales from Sunday afternoon into Monday morning, the Met Office said.
Winds of 60-70mph are expected to hit Wales and parts of southwest and southern England, while exposed areas such as the Isles of Scilly, west Cornwall and west Wales could see gales of up to 80mph.
Scotland is also braced for more heavy rain overnight on Sunday into Monday morning, with 20-30mm of rainfall predicted and much as 50-60mm over high ground.
The Environment Agency (EA) said the predicted rainfall meant there is a "continued heightened flood risk" across southern England, especially southwest England where river levels remain high and the ground is already saturated.
Large rivers such as the Thames, Severn and Great Ouse in Cambridgeshire are most at risk of flooding, while high water levels on the River Medway and Stour in Kent will cause continued flooding and travel disruption, the EA said.
Some 1,300 properties have been flooded during the recent storms in England, the EA said, while flood defences have protected more than 80,000 properties.
Craig Woolhouse, the EA's head of flood incident management, said: "Our thoughts are with those who have been affected by flooding over Christmas.
"Our teams remain out on the ground working around the clock to protect communities from flooding.
"With more wet weather expected early next week we are monitoring rivers and working to protect communities from flooding with our partners in the emergency services and local authorities.
"We urge people to stay safe and avoid driving or walking through flood water and visit the Environment Agency website for advice and sign up for flood warnings."
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