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Somerset's new community flood support boat needs a name - can you help?

Somerset's new community flood support boat needs a name - can you help? Credit: Somerset County Council

People in Somerset are being asked to come up with a name for the county's new community flood support boat.

A similar vessel was a lifeline during last year's floods and, when it's not involved in rescues, it will be used by disabled people.

The winner will get a chance to steer the boat themselves.

People have until noon on Thursday 23 April to submit names to Somerset County Council, which will then be shortlisted for public vote.

I think we can all agree that ‘community flood support boat’ is not a very catchy name! That’s why we’re appealing for your help in finding a new one.

Let’s not forget what this boat represents. A similar vessel provided a lifeline to residents who had no other way of reaching their homes during the terrible floods of 2014. It transported everyone from schoolchildren and commuters to His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales.

When it’s not being used as a rescue boat, this Wheelyboat is fully adapted for wheelchair use and will be used to help disabled people access the water.

This is a boat for the community of Somerset, so it’s only right that the community gets to choose its name.

So whether you’re a pupil at school, a local resident who was affected by the floods or just a member of the public with a really good idea, please get in touch and let us know what you think it should be called.

– Paula Hewitt, Somerset County Council’s Director and Lead Commissioner for Economic and Community Infrastructure

Flooding on the Somerset Levels a year on

Flooding on the Somerset Levels a year ago Credit: ITV News

This weekend marks a year since a "major incident" was declared on the Somerset Levels.

The worst floods ever seen there prompted huge support for local residents, some of whom have still not returned to normal life. But this winter many of them are looking forward with new confidence.

You look at it now and you can see that the river's flowing quite nicely. There's a big capacity there and I feel really happy to be living where we live.

– REBECCA HORSINGTON, FLOODING ON THE LEVELS ACTION GROUP

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Calls to end building on the floodplain

Flooding on the Somerset Levels last February Credit: PA

Insurers have warned flood defence spending must rise to a £1 billion a year over the next decade to prevent scenes like those which devastated Somerset last winter.

The Association of British Insurers is also calling for an end to building new homes in flood-risk areas.

It says some 20,000 new properties are being built on the floodplain each year, including 4,000 in places where there is significant risk of flooding.

Flood victims face five-fold increase in insurance

Thousands of flood victims across our region are facing spiralling insurance premiums this winter - while others can't get any insurance at all.

That's despite more assurances from David Cameron in the aftermath of months of flooding on the Somerset Levels.

But some are now facing a fivefold increase in their premiums - or are facing winter without any cover. Here's David Woodland.

Moorland villagers face home insurance battle

A fifth of the 126 flood victims at Moorland on the Somerset Levels haven't been able to get buildings insurance this year. Others have seen huge hikes in premiums even if they didn't flood.

The swollen River Parrett runs next to Rebecca Horsington's farmhouse but it has never flooded the house, as it overflows in the other direction. Despite that she was told her insurance would rise from £435 to £3500.

Moorland at the height of last winter's floods. Credit: PA

It makes a nonsense of what has happened here because we have had the dredge happen, we've had flood defences put in, so really our flood risk is a lot lower than it was before the floods hit and therefore the insurance premiums should be reflecting that.

– Rebecca Horsington

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Flooding fears as river levels rise in Somerset

The rising River Parrett has led to some fields becoming partially flooded Credit: ITV News

Flooding fears are on the rise on the Somerset Levels as people endure increased river levels and a week of rain.

The rain, which started on Monday, is set to continue until the weekend but agencies say that a repeat of February's flooding is currently unlikely.

The bridge at Burrowbridge demonstrates the rising river levels Credit: ITV News

The River Parrett is rising at Burrowbridge and some fields nearby are partially flooded. But the Environment Agency says there isn't a major risk.

There may be further isolated showers over the next few days but river levels are dropping and the risk of flooding is very low. We'll continue to monitor river levels closely and keep local communities informed.

In Somerset, some agricultural floodplain is currently storing water as a result of planned management of river levels. This is completely normal for this time of year. We are not expecting any properties to flood. It would take very heavy rainfall over a long period of time to put homes at risk.

– Environment Agency

Levels flood victim finally moves back home today

Bryony Sadler surveying the damage last winter. Credit: ITV News

Flood victim Bryony Sadler will finally move back into her house on the Somerset Levels today.

Bryony and her family were forced to leave their home in the flooded village of Moorland in February.

ITV will be following the family as they move back in - and we will bring you their story on our programme tonight at 6pm.

Environment Agency criticised over flood spending

A new report has criticised the amount of money being spent on some flooding projects by the Enviromment Agency.

According to the National Audit Office, many schemes are only being maintained to a 'minimal level' because they only protect a few homes.

The Agency has defended its record, insisting it is making record levels of investment.

Scars from dredging are visible on the River Parrett in Burrowbridge, Somerset. Credit: PA
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