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Protecting Somerset from floods: Giant pumps tested

Giant pumps tested to help protect Somerset from flooding Credit: ITV News

The Environment Agency has been testing giant pumps designed to help reduce the risk of a repeat of last year's flooding on the Somerset Levels.

The pumps will be on permanent standby at Dunball, ready to suck more than a million tons of water day out of the King's Sedgemoor Drain.


Rescue boat used during Somerset floods gets new home

The villagers have decided to loan their rescue boat permanently to BARB Search & Rescue. Credit: ITV News

A rescue boat which was a lifeline for stranded villagers during last year's floods in Somerset is being given a new home this morning.

Rescue boats were a lifeline for Muchelney residents during the floods. Credit: ITV News

It was bought after the village of Muchelney was cut off by the water, but now the road has been raised to prevent it being flooded again. The villagers have decided to loan it permanently to Burnham Area Rescue Boat (BARB) Search & Rescue in Burnham-on-Sea, which was first on the scene during the crisis.

The road to Muchelney was cut off during the floods, and the only way in or out was by boat. Credit: ITV News

Somerset Levels flood prevention work begins again

The Somerset Levels were badly flooded last winter. Credit: ITV News West Country

The second phase of flood prevention work at Beer Wall on the Somerset Levels starts this week.

Four new culverts will be placed under the A372 between Othery and Langport to allow water to pass under the road.

Work was completed last month to raise the route and prevent a repeat of last winter, when it was flooded for weeks.

£1.5 million project to improve flood defences completed

A £1.5 million project to improve flood defences on the Somerset Levels has been completed. Credit: Environment Agency

A £1.5 million project to improve flood defences on the Somerset Levels has been completed.

The purpose-built platform at Dunball Sluice, near Bridgwater, means flood water can be quickly pumped away. It also means flows in the Rivers Sowy, Parrett Tone and King's Sedgemoor Drain can be managed more efficiently.

A temporary platform was constructed at Dunball during the winter of 2013/14, which saw large parts of the Levels under water after storms. At its height more than 90 million tonnes of water covered an estimated 122 square kilometres.

The workis part of a £12 million programme of repair and enhancement of flood defence works across Somerset.

Raised road to Muchelney opens tomorrow

The road to Muchelney disappeared during last year's floods Credit: ITV News

Final preparations are being made for the official opening of the newly raised road into Muchelney.

The road became an iconic image of the flooding on the Somerset Levels last winter - and the village of Muchelney was cut off.

The road is one of several projects to prevent future flooding on the Somerset Levels - including dredging eight kilometres of the rivers Parrett and Tone.


Weston-super-Mare braces itself for high tides

Temporary defences, known as a Dutch Dam, have been raised in Weston-super-Mare to protect the town from the onslaught Credit: ITV News

Communities along the Bristol Channel are bracing themselves for the highest spring tides in decades this weekend.

50 feet high tides - the highest seen for 20 years - are expected in Weston-super-Mare from this morning. Forecasters are warning of the possibility of coastal flooding and North Somerset Council's emergency teams have been put on standby.

We've got good sea defences in Weston-super-Mare. We have a Dutch dam, which is a dam that we put up manually, and we've also got a gate which we shut and that creates a watertight seal.

And that stops the water from pouring onto the road if the weather gets that bad.

– John Flannigan, North Somerset Council

"Dutch Dam" is deployed in Weston-super-Mare

The Dutch Dam has been raised at Knightstone Island to protect Weston seafront Credit: ITV News

Sea defences have been deployed in Weston super Mare because of forecast high tides.

The Dutch Dam at Knightstone Island will remain up until Saturday at least.

  • High tide Friday 20 February at 0730 is predicted to reach 13.23m
  • High tide Saturday 21 February at 0830 is predicted to reach 13.36m

Somerset flooding volunteers fall out with council

Volunteers say they have been locked out of a warehouse full of donated items Credit: ITV News

Volunteers helping flood victims across Somerset over the past year have fallen out with the County Council over who should have control of public donations.

Emergency volunteers say they have been locked out of a warehouse full of furniture, cookers and domestic appliances, waiting for residents who are still homeless.

But Somerset County Council claim the friction is a simple misunderstanding, stemming from new lease terms.

Flooding victim Sally Vize believes the volunteers are better equipped to help at the warehouse than the council.

Anti-flooding action plan in Somerset reaches second stage

Work is beginning on phase two of the action plan to try to prevent another flood on the scale of last year's crisis on the Somerset Levels.

After a £6 million dredging project, attention is turning to managing the land further upstream. The plans are to slow the flow of water into the river system by digging ponds and planting trees.

We always knew that we'd be working to more of a medium to long term solution which would be the management of the land so tackling some of the problem at the source rather than the symptoms, if you like, of the water.

– Ben Thorne, Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group
Plans are being implement to slow the flow of water into the Levels
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