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Environment Agency chair: 'Sure I will hear robust views'

Lord Smith is to visit the Somerset Levels tomorrow for the first time since the flooding began Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Archive/Press Association Images

The Environment Agency chairman Lord Smith has said he is sure he will "hear robust views" during his visit to flood-hit Somerset tomorrow.

He added: "I'll be glad to hear robust views because it's very important that the people who are immediately affected by flooding get the chance to say what their concerns are."

Watch: Prime Minister says: I'll visit Somerset 'when the time is right'

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Lord Smith: We can certainly try and do better

"We'll never be able to keep the Somerset Levels dry in every eventuality but we can certainly try and do better than we've been able to do up until now," Environment Agency chair Lord Smith admitted today.

"I can absolutely understand the frustration that people feel," he said in an interview with ITV News political correspondent Carl Dinnen.

Lord Smith: 'We have not done as much as we should'

Lord Smith said dredging of the Tone and Parrett (pictured) rivers would have to be "an element" of future plans. Credit: PA

Environment Agency chairman Lord Smith has admitted "we probably have not done as much as we should have done" to dredge the rivers around the Somerset Levels.

He told Sky News: "I haven't yet been, in the last four weeks, to the Somerset Levels but I have been to the Somerset Levels on three occasions in the course of the last year and will be going back there."

Asked if the Environment Agency had been wrong up until now he said: "We probably have not done as much as we should have done up to now and I regret that. But we have had very difficult choices to make, reducing budgets to cope with.

"What we now need to do is work together with others, because it is not something just for the Environment Agency, we need to work with others in order to address the issues for the future."

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