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Prince Charles to return to flood-hit Somerset village

Prince Charles is set to return to the flood-hit village of Muchelney in Somerset.

The visit comes five months after the Prince of Wales saw the impact of flooding on agriculture and the livelihoods of people on the Somerset Levels.

Prince Charles pictured in Muchelney in February, when it was largely cut off due to flooding on the Somerset Levels. Credit: PA Wire

The Prince used the emergency boat service - the only means of travelling in and out of Muchelney at the time - and a tractor to meet people in their own homes.

He also criticised efforts to help those affected by the floods, saying: "The tragedy is that nothing happened for so long."

1,000 businesses received payouts over flooding

Almost 1,000 businesses have received payouts from their local councils as part of the Government's package to help them recover from the winter flooding.

1,000 businesses received payouts over flooding. Credit: PA

In a written parliamentary answer, local government minister Brandon Lewis confirmed 979 companies benefited from the Business Rates Relief Fund as of the beginning of June.

There are no set or advance allocations to councils, which instead have to retrospectively claim back the cost of the relief.

Mr Lewis said 66 local authorities had submitted claims for reimbursement ahead of the deadline last month and added the Government expected to pay back £4 million shortly.

Record flood investment 'helped protect 1.4m homes'

The environment minister Dan Rogerson said Government spending on flood defences has protected "1.4 million properties" from flooding.

Speaking on Good Morning Britain, Mr Rogerson justified the spending levels after an extra £270m was used in Somerset due to the "wettest winter on record."

MPs: 'Ministers must take action now' over flooding

MPs have welcomed £270 million extra funding for tackling flooding that has been announced by the Government this year, but said £130 million of that had been reallocated from elsewhere in the Environment Department's budget, rather than being additional.

We have repeatedly called on the Government to increase revenue funding so that necessary dredging and watercourse maintenance can be carried out to minimise flood risk, yet funding for maintenance remains at a bare minimum.

Ministers must take action now to avoid a repeat of the devastation caused by the winter floods.

The Government needs to recognise the importance of regular maintenance work and put it on an equal footing with building new defences.

– Committee's chairwoman Anne McIntosh

Overall funding did not reflect the increased flood risk the country faced. Funding for maintenance work - a "Cinderella" area - needs to keep pace with the growing risk caused by more frequent extreme weather events and to look after an increasing number of flood defences being built, the MPs said.

They urged the Environment Department (Defra) to draw up fully-funded plans to address the current backlog of maintenance work, including routine dredging, as well as to maintain the growing numbers of man-made flood defences.

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MPs warn flood protection should take priority

MPs have warned that maintaining flood protection for communities should take priority over cost-cutting, to prevent a repeat of the devastation caused by the winter floods.

MPs warn flood protection should take priority. Credit: PA

The Parliamentary Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Efra) committee said in a report on the floods that funding for clearing rivers, routine dredging and maintaining existing flood defences is at a "bare minimum".

While the committee commended the relief effort for the floods, which saw 7,000 properties flooded as the UK was hit by repeated storms and the wettest winter on record, they said investment in flood prevention was preferable to spending on clean-up.

Forecasters warn of flooding in east of England

Yellow rain warnings are present in the east on Tuesday. Credit: Met Office

Heavy rain across the east of England could cause flooding over the next 48 hours, forecasters have warned.

The Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning of rain for the region, predicting localised flooding which could cause disruption to travel.

The persistent wet weather will last until tomorrow night with up to 2.76ins (70mm) of rain expected in worst-hit areas including parts of Lincolnshire, South Yorkshire and the Humber.

The Environment Agency (EA) also warned of a flood risk in the east, mainly from surface water and low lying rivers.

Baby airlifted to safety during deadly Balkan floods

Dramatic footage from Belgrade has shown a mother and baby being airlifted from a house after floods ravaged parts of Serbia and neighbouring Bosnia.

Thousands of people in the Balkans have been evacuated from their homes over the past few days as the region was hit by the heaviest rainfall since measuring started 120 years ago.

The Associated Press news agency, which provided the video, reports that an estimated 20 people have died in Bosnia and Serbia as a result of the flooding.

Nationwide emergency measures were declared after rain-swollen rivers have flooded roads, cut off power and caused more than 200 landslides.

Government 'overlooked' developing Ukraine crisis

The Government failed to spot developments leading up to the crisis in Ukraine, a committee of MPs and peers has said.

The report from the Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy said the National Security Council should spend more time looking at long-term issues affecting national security.

Recent events in Ukraine may not have been precisely predictable but the fact that Ukraine was unstable and Russia might react to that instability was widely recognised.

The impact of EU policy towards Ukraine on stability in the region appears to have been overlooked, perhaps in part because EU matters are considered not in the National Security Council but in another Cabinet committee.

The crisis in Ukraine is the type of event we had in mind when calling on the NSC to give time to horizon-scanning and longer-term, strategic issues.

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