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The chairman of the Environment Agency Lord Smith admitted he "could have been better" during the flooding crisis and said the country needs to take a "serious look" at how it prepares for more extreme weather.
Lord Smith said: "I should have worked harder to do that - i.e. I probably should have gone down there earlier than I did."
He later added: ""Now, we need to have a serious look as a country at how we prepare ourselves for that and how we build our flood defences."
David Cameron came in for a soaking today as he visited a farmer affected by the floods in his Oxfordshire constituency.
The prime minister was visiting farmer Tim Hook, who told the BBC he had written to Mr Cameron after losing tens of thousands of pounds because his land has been flooded six times since 2008.
Prime Minister and MP for Witney David Cameron visited farmer Tim Hook near Bampton, in Oxfordshire, to reassure him and other flood-hit farmers that the "money is there" for them.
He said the Government would be setting out details in the "coming days" on how affected farmers will be able to access a £10 million Government fund set up to support them.
Plans for hundreds of redundancies at the Environment Agency have been put on hold as a result of the ongoing floods crisis sweeping the country.
The agency's chief executive has sent an email to staff saying that response to the flooding is taking priority over other work.
David Cameron has told ITV News Deputy Political Editor Chris Ship that the agency must ensure any redundancies "have absolutely no impact" on floods defences.
Paul Leinster said: "We are quite rightly prioritising incident response above all other work. With this in mind, we are reviewing the timetable for the change programme. We will not be taking further decisions on work stream proposals or structures whilst we remain in incident mode."
"We will not be taking further decisions on work stream proposals or structures whilst we remain in incident mode.
Mr Leinster added that once the emergency response was over, efforts to implement a successful change programme" would continue.
Mr Cameron refused to comment on the situation at the agency when asked by Labour leader Ed Miliband during Prime Minister's Questions earlier this week.
David Cameron has said he is "very sorry about any way people have suffered" during the floods, as he reiterated the Government's stance that money is no object in the relief effort.
Speaking to Daybreak, Mr Cameron said the Government was fighting on every front to protect people from the "extraordinary weather events".
The Prime Minister was speaking as communities across Britain braced themselves for a battering by heavy wind, rain, and snow.
The additional £130 million David Cameron has pledged to the flood relief effort will not address the country's long-term flood risk, the Government's own independent advisers have said.
The Committee on Climate Change said on its blog: "As it is, only 4% of households at flood risk in England are seeing their defences refurbished or improved over this period.
"So the additional funding won't materially address the rising long-term flood risk given the latest assessment of the investment need."
Speaking at the Cabinet Committee on Flooding, David Cameron said that the "immediate priority" of the Government's Cobra committee to continue to help communities affected by flooding and to coordinate the emergency response.
He said: “I have already announced a series of longer-term measures to help hard-working people including new grants for homeowners and businesses to help them recover; business rate relief and a commitment from all major banks to provide financial support.
"This is on top of an extra £130 million to shore up and repair flood defences which have been battered by the storms."
“We are doing everything we can to help people and businesses deal with the flooding and get back on their feet," he added. "And through this new Cabinet Committee we are doing all we can to ensure resilience in the future.”
David Cameron has chaired the first meeting of a new Cabinet committee on flood recovery.
The committee agreed a series of reviews in relation to the long-term flood recovery plan:
- A review of the Bellwin scheme which provides emergency financial assistance to local authorities during exceptional circumstances, to consider whether the arrangements for providing funding to compensate local authorities for the costs of emergency measures are fit for purpose
- A targeted review of the resilience of the transport network to extreme weather events
- A review of investment decision guidelines on flood defences
- An annual resilience review to consider the local, regional and national response to extreme weather situations and make recommendations for the Government’s long and short-term resilience strategy.
The consensus between major political parties on climate change has been "fraying at the edges" over the last few months, the energy secretary told Daybreak.
Ed Davey urged the general public to listen to scientists and recognise it was "very sensible and very cheap" to tackle the problem now.
Latest ITV News reports
As the flood crisis has escalated, so has the practicality of the footwear and clothing worn by Britain's politicians.
David Cameron has donned his wellies to visit Britain's flood-stricken areas, but was it all too late?