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Charles: Tragedy is that nothing happened for so long

Prince Charles has said the "tragedy" in flood-hit Somerset "is that nothing happened for so long" to help as he met local residents, farmers and emergency services personnel who have been affected.

Speaking at a reception, the Prince of Wales said: "There's nothing like a jolly good disaster to get people to start doing something. The tragedy is that nothing happened for so long."

Earlier, Charles offered his support to the region by pledging a £50,000 donation which will be used to provide emergency relief grants to small businesses and those affected by the flooding.

Prince Charles visits cut-off village in Somerset

Prince Charles has been transported by boat to the cut-off village of Muchelney in Somerset.

Prince Charles making his way to Muchelney Credit: ITN

The prince was then given a tour of the area on the back of a tractor, to see for himself what locals have had to deal with in the flood-hit region.

Prince Charles is accompanied by emergency workers Credit: ITN

The Prince of Wales was meeting residents, farmers and business owners in his tour of Somerset.


Prince Charles meets Somerset's flood-hit residents

Prince Charles has met with residents affected by the fierce flooding in Somerset.

Prince Charles speaks with residents in Stoke St Gregory, Somerset Credit: Pool

The prince made his visit during a sunny spell, although another wave of bad weather is expected to hit the region between 3-pm today and 11pm tomorrow, according to Met Office forecasters.

Emergency service workers meet the prince on his visit to Somerset. Credit: Pool

The Prince will also talk to residents, farmers and business owners in Muchelney.

Lord Smith: Dredging rivers 'will form future plans'

Environment Agency chairman Lord Smith has said that dredging Somerset's Tone and Parrett rivers would have to be "an element" of plans to manage the flood risk in future.

Pumps active yesterday at Burrowbridge on the Somerset Levels to help alleviate floodwater in fields and drainage ditches. Credit: PA

Speaking to Sky News, Lord Smith said he had not yet visited the Somerset Levels since they were submerged, but has visited the area on three occasions over the past year and "will be going back there."

The Environment Agency chairman earlier admitted to ITV News that "we could have done better" in tackling the flooded areas in Somerset.

Flood defence not 'either or' between town and country

Protecting the public from floods does not come to down to an "either or" choice between town and country, the shadow environment minister told Daybreak.

Maria Eagle said a better understanding of the challenges posed by climate change was the answer to solving the flooding crisis.

She also criticised the environment minister Owen Patterson for being part of the "headless chicken brigade" of climate sceptics and said he needed to "get on with it".

Prince Charles set to visit flood-hit communities

The Prince of Wales will visit flood-hit communities today where he will be introduced to residents, farmers and members of the emergency services who have been affected by the recent flooding on the Somerset Levels.

The Prince of Wales will visit those affected by the recent flooding. Credit: PA

Charles will visit the village of Muchelney, which has been cut off for a month, and a local farming family at Langport, where he will see damage caused by the flood waters.

The area has seen some of the worst flooding in living memory, with villages cut off and hundreds of homes and businesses flooded.

Charles, who is a patron of the Prince's Countryside Fund, has a long-held commitment to supporting Britain's hard-pressed rural areas.

The fund allocates grants to rural projects twice a year and also reserves a portion of its income to be used in times of crisis.


'Wettest January on record' for parts of England

Some areas of Southern England have experienced their wettest January on record, according to Met Office figures.

A resident walks through the Little Venice Caravan Park in Yalding, Kent, earlier this month. Credit: PA

The area from East Devon to Kent and inland across parts of the midlands has already seen twice the average rainfall for the month, since Met Office records began in 1910.

Energy chiefs face grilling from MPs over Xmas floods

Bosses of some of Britain's biggest energy distributors will appear in front of MPs later to answer explain their response to the Christmas floods.

UK Power Networks were criticised for their slow response to customers cut off by flood waters. Credit: PA

Companies running energy grids and networks were berated for a slow response as thousands of customers spent Christmas Day without power.

Energy chiefs will face interrogation the Energy and Climate Change committee in a one-off evidence session at 9:30am.

Flooding has left 'daunting trail of destruction'

The Local Government Association said that with an existing £10.5 billion repair backlog for highways, the Government's Bellwin Scheme is not adequate funding to cover repairs caused by the severe weather, and local councils have been left with a "daunting trail of destruction."

The severe weather has left behind a daunting trail of destruction for councils to clear-up and fix.

...While we are pleased the Bellwin Scheme will be activated, the fact remains that Bellwin is severely limited as it does not cover most capital costs.

An emergency highways maintenance fund would provide essential support to those councils who now face hefty and unexpected repair bills as a result of the flooding.

These bills are likely to place significant financial pressures on already stretched council finances and it is vital that local communities are not left to suffer as a result.

– Mike Jones, the LGA's environment and housing board chairman

Flood Recovery Minister Brandon Lewis said "the Government is now fully focused on helping those affected get back on their feet", adding that it was "providing over £3.4 billion in this Parliament and over £5.8 billion in the next for local highways maintenance."

Flood-hit councils ask Government for emergency cash

Councils who are faced with repair bills running into hundreds of millions of pounds in the wake of heavy rain and flooding are calling on the Government for help.

Flood-hit councils Councils are calling on the Government for help. Credit: PA

The Local Government Association wants the Department for Transport to create a highways maintenance emergency fund, similar to the one set up in 2007 following severe flooding, to help affected local authorities with funding for emergency and unforeseeable works to their local roads network.

The LGA said that the Government help plan - the Bellwin Scheme - to assist in times of extreme floods - only goes so far and warned that vital investment in local growth and infrastructure projects could suffer if government does not step in to ease the cost of flood repairs.

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