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'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.

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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.

Body found in sea is missing Devon teen Harry Martin

Harry Martin went missing after going out to take photos of the bad weather Credit: Devon and Cornwall Police

Police have confirmed that a body found in the sea at Noss Mayo on 11 January was that of missing teenager Harry Martin, who was last seen on 2 January after leaving his home to take photographs of the stormy weather.

His body was found on Saturday and formal identification took place yesterday.

An inquest is due to open on Monday.

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Ongoing flood risk for southern England

Communities in Dorset, South Wiltshire, Somerset and the Thames Valley have been urged to remain vigilant for continued flooding from groundwater and rivers.

The Environment Agency said flooding will continue along the River Thames over the coming days, with a potential flooding around the Chertsey Lakes.

Chertsey in Surrey is one of the areas still at risk of further flooding. Credit: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

It said groundwater levels remain very high in many places, including West Dorset, Cranborne Chase and Salisbury Plain.

River levels also remain high in parts of Hampshire, West Berkshire, Surrey, West Sussex, Wiltshire and along the River Severn in Worcester and Gloucestershire.

Environment Agency flood risk manager, Katharine Evans, said: “Teams continue to work to work around the clock, maintaining flood defences, clearing watercourses and deploying pumps and temporary defences to protect communities at risk.

River Thames continues to respond to recent rainfall

A resident checks his home next to the River Thames in Shepperton, Surrey. Credit: PA

Communities along the River Thames in Surrey should remain prepared for further flooding, the head of flood incident management for the Environment Agency has warned, as more rain is expected to fall over the next few days.

Craig Woolhouse said: "The River Thames is continuing to respond to the recent rainfall.

"River levels will remain high for the next few days and we urge people keep up to date with the latest flood warnings and take action.

"With so much standing water around, we would also remind people to stay out of flood water and not attempt to walk or drive through it."

Residents along Thames to prepare for more flooding

The Environment Agency has said residents living along the lower reaches of the River Thames in Surrey should remain prepared for further flooding as water levels continue to rise.

The Thames is expected to stop rising today, but it may be some days before the levels are back to normal, it said.

There is also an ongoing risk of flooding from the Rivers Parret in Somerset and the Severn in the Midlands. High groundwater levels mean we are likely to see continued flooding in areas such as the Somerset levels and moors, Dorset and Wiltshire.

– Environment Agency
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