- 37 updates
More rain is forecast across the south coast and northern Scotland today. Many people in Somerset have already been flooded for over a month.
The Environment Agency has dismissed claims that increased dredging of rivers on the Somerset Levels would have prevented the recent widespread flooding
Kate Marks, Environment Agency flood risk manager, said Britain "has faced an extraordinary combination of weather conditions over the last six weeks".
"We are doing everything we can to pump water off the Somerset Levels and have 65 pumps working 24-7 in the biggest pumping operation ever undertaken in the county," she continued.
“Dredging is often not the best long term or economic solution and increased dredging of rivers on the Somerset Levels would not have prevented the recent widespread flooding.”
Today's visit to Somerset by the Environment Secretary Owen Paterson has caused considerable comment from both sides of the debate. Mr Paterson was accompanied on his visit by Bridgwater MP Iain Liddell-Grainger.
Ian Axton asked him for his views on the visit and what had been achieved by it.
A 200 metre long pontoon footpath has been installed to help flood stricken villagers get to work and school.
Somerset County Council is paying for the footbridge which stretches along part of the flooded Langport to Muchelney road.
Deputy Leader of Somerset County Council, Cllr David Hall, said: “We are funding this pontoon along with the humanitarian boat service so the community in this area is not isolated and can go about their normal lives.
Environment Secretary Owen Paterson has defended his response to the problems faced by flood-hit communities in south-west England.
Mr Paterson told ITV News that he could not do any more than visit the worst-hit areas in person.
The Environment Secretary said he was going to meet with experts, MPs and residents to come up with a clear plan on how to tackle the issue.
The single largest pumping operation is underway in flood-hit Somerset, the Environment Agency has announced.
Communities have been inundated with flooding since Christmas, and have been warned to expect further disruption.
Yesterday, farmers held a demonstration against the Agency, accusing it of failing to dredge local rivers.
The Prime Minister defended the Agency against the criticism praising their "excellent work" in dealing with the floods.
Somerset County Council has declared a "major incident" with further flooding expected in the region.
Large parts of the county remain underwater after flooding earlier this month and now residents face further problems as the wet weather persists.
Environment Secretary Owen Paterson is expected to visit the worst-hit areas of Somerset today.
People living in properties identified as being at risk of flooding have been visited over the weekend by either emergency services, local authorities or local utility companies, while the Local Resilience Forum's Strategic Co-ordination Group met last night to discuss the threat.
"Our priority has to be to keep people safe," Somerset County Council deputy chief executive Pat Flaherty said.
"We are doing everything we can to do this and we believe that declaring a major incident shows just how urgent the situation is for many of our residents and communities."
Hampshire, Dorset and Somerset remain at medium risk of flooding with another day of rain expected to hit the regions, the Met Office has said.
The Environment Agency has issued more than 14 flood warnings, with the majority in Southern England, which mean flooding is expected and immediate action is required.
"I think the Environment Agency has done excellent work on helping to deal with the flooding and helping with communities," the Prime Minister said.
"I have, in my own constituency, worked with them very closely. I think a couple of years ago there was a sense that they were very anti-dredging, very anti-action on particular rivers and streams.
"I think they have changed their attitude on that front but I will listen very carefully to what Ian has to say about these specific rivers. I know Owen Paterson is going to Somerset and is going to meet with the MPs.
"Obviously the Environment Agency has to listen to these concerns - you do get quite widespread concerns that river levels have risen. We have got to address those and give some clear answers."