Thursday, 13 February 2014

Flooding Update

Government departments, local authorities and agencies are working in unison and doing absolutely everything they can to help communities at risk. The Environment Agency continues to work day and night, alongside the emergency services and other local specialist agencies to get communities ready for the bad weather.

There are currently 16 severe flood warnings, 122 flood warnings and 225 flood alerts in place.

Since the beginning of February more than 1,100 properties have flooded, some 180,000 properties have been protected from flooding and over 148,000 properties have been sent a free flood warning.  Environment Agency teams continue to be out in force across England - day and night - to minimise the impact of flooding.

Communities along the Thames and on the Somerset Levels are being warned to expect more flooding with heavy rain expected. Successive bands of rain which have been affecting the country all week are expected to continue, causing river levels to rise along the River Thames, the Severn and the Dorset Stour as well as across most of the south west, central southern and south east England.

Groundwater flooding is also expected in the coming days in Hampshire, Kent and parts of London. Local authorities will work with utility companies to respond to these incidents.

About 100 properties remain flooded on the Somerset Levels, where extra pumps are being brought in from Holland to help reduce levels on the River Parrett and Tone.  Sixty-five square kilometres of Somerset Levels are currently covered by floodwater.

On Monday, Nick Clegg visited Somerset to meet with people and businesses affected by flooding.

The Coalition Government has announced a package of measures to help homes, businesses and farmers affected by flooding.

The measures include:

  •  A £5,000 “repair and renew” grant for all affected homeowners and businesses. This will top up any money received from insurers to ensure flood resilience is built into homes and businesses as they are repaired.
  • All affected businesses will get 100% business rate relief for three months and will also get an extra three months to pay the business taxes they owe to HMRC as they get back on their feet.
  • A £10million fund for farmers suffering water-logged fields to help restore it to farmable land as quickly as possible.
  • A total commitment in excess of £750million from the major banks to provide financial support to business and individual customers affected by the floods.   
  • In addition to the £130million of increased flood funding already announced, the Government has pledged new action to keep affected areas moving, including:
  • The deployment of military personnel to support the flood effort. The military are working through existing Gold and Silver commands to assist local communities and emergency response teams on the ground - reinforcing sandbags and shoring up flood defences, helping children get to school and the sick to medical assistance, providing relief to emergency services who have been working 24/7 and checking on vulnerable individuals.
  • £31million confirmed to deliver ten key rail projects in the South West to improve resilience to flooding, including works at Cowley Bridge in Exeter.
  • A further £30million for local authorities in England affected by the severe weather for road maintenance, including pothole repairs.